The Othello syndrome is a pscholgogical condition, where a person thinks that their partner is unfaithful, but without having any proof for this behaviour. It is also known as pathological jealousy, morbid jelousy or delusional jealousy. The person will also behave in ways that are socially unacceptable or abnormal, but which are related to these thoughts. The most common form is characterized by delusions and obsessions. It is considered a subtype of delusional disorder.
As people are obsessed by the idea that their partner is unfaithful, they want to investigate and maintain their parner's fidelity, even if this causes big problems for themselves, and their partner.
Definition[change | change source]
This disorder occurs when a person accuses their partner of being unfaithfuil, even if there is little or no evidence for this. Very often people will use seemingly normal or everyday events or material to show this.
Unlike with other forms of delusion, people suffering from Othello syndrome, often stalk their partners, or they become violent. The condition can be found together with schizophrenia and a delusional disorder, such as bipolar disorder. It is associated with alcoholism and sexual dysfunction and has been reported after neurological illness (i.e. Parkinson's).
The name "Othello Syndrome" comes from the character in Shakespeare's play Othello, who murders his wife as a result of a false belief that she has been unfaithful. Recently, some psychologists and psychiatrists have asserted that Othello was deceived rather than deluded about Desdemona's alleged infidelity and thus did not have ‘the Othello Syndrome’.
Triggers[change | change source]
For men the strongest trigger is sexual infidelity and with women the strongest trigger is emotional infidelity. If partner-related violence does not stop infidelity from happening, the male mate will sometimes commit suicide instead. The last thing to do to stop infidelity inside of morbid jealousy is to kill their partner. Women are much less likely to do this, unless they act in self-defense. Morbid jealousy can occur together with other conditions such as chronic alcoholism, addiction to other drugs (i.e. cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana.), organic brain disorders (i.e. Parkinson's, Huntington's), schizophrenia, neurosis, affective disturbances or personality disorders.
Risks associated[change | change source]
Harm to self[change | change source]
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References[change | change source]
Sources[change | change source]
- Enoch, D. & Ball, H. (2001) The Othello Syndrome. In Enoch, D. & Ball, H. Uncommon psychiatric syndromes (fourth edition) pp50–73. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-76388-4ISBN 0-340-76388-4
- Easton, J.A.; Shackelford, T.K.; Schipper, L.D. (2008). "Delusional Disorder--Jealous Type: How Inclusive are the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria?" (PDF). Journal of Clinical Psychology. 64 (3): 264–275. doi:10.1002/jclp.20442. PMID 18257054. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-21. Retrieved 2021-08-08.
- Easton, J. A.; Schipper, L. D.; Shackelford, T. K. (2007). "Morbid jealousy from an evolutionary psychological perspective" (PDF). Evolution and Human Behavior. 28 (6): 399–402. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.05.005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-02.