07 February 2005

Lovesickness as a Diagnosis

A week before Valentines Day comes this news that doctors may and can soon give lovesickness as a diagnosis to select patients.

Elated? Depressed? Obsessed?
You May Be Suffering Lovesickness
By Maxine Frith
Social Affairs Correspondent

Falling in love used to be fun. Now doctors are warning that the throes of passion should be seen as a potentially fatal medical disorder.

Psychologists say that "lovesickness" is a genuine disease that needs more awareness and diagnosis.

And those little actions that are normally seen as symptoms of the first flush of love --- buying presents, waiting by the phone for a call or making a bit of an effort before a date --- may actually be signs of deep-rooted problems to come.

Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist in London, examined the historical attitudes to love and mental illness, stretching back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

Before the 18th century, lovesickness had for thousands of years been accepted a recognised ailment. But for the past 200 years it has been out of favour with medical practitioners as a proper diagnosis, Dr Tallis said in a report in The Psychologist magazine.

Dr Tallis said modern research suggested that the effects of being lovesick could be described in the latest diagnostic terms.

Symptoms can include mania, such as an elevated mood and inflated self-esteem, or depression, revealing itself as tearfulness and insomnia.


This is great.

Next time, an elated, depressed, and obsessed patient consults with me, I now have the freedom to consider "lovesickness" as a differential diagnosis.

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