It may seem romantic in movies, and television shows when someone says to the one they love that they cannot live without them and that they are all they have. In reality, it is very unhealthy to have an obsession with one person, especially if the feelings are not returned. Learning to establish independence and close yourself off from that person is essential before your mental health worsens.
Bayview Recovery understands these behaviors signal the need for bipolar disorder treatment in Tacoma, Washington. Call us at 855.478.3650 if you or a loved one needs help.
What Is Obsessive Love Disorder?
Obsessive love disorder is when you are obsessed with someone you think you love. It can entail being overly protective over that person, which can mean controlling them. It can mean telling them where to go, what to do, what to eat, etc. Real love is respecting the choices of others and giving them space when they ask for it. If you do not respect a person’s boundaries, that is when your infatuation for that person becomes an unhealthy obsession.
The symptoms can include an overwhelming attraction to someone that takes over your thoughts and actions. It can also mean extreme jealousy whether they are spending time with someone of the opposite sex, friends, or family. You do not want the one you are infatuated with to share their attention with anyone but you. If the one you are obsessed with is spending time with someone else, this causes you to question that person’s motives or why you were not invited.
Obsessive love disorder can also manifest as repeated text messages, emails, phone calls, and many messages as to why there was no immediate response. With that one person on your mind, it can mean that you’re willing to close off your friends and family to devote all of your love and attention to the one you are infatuated with.
Furthermore, you may feel like controlling where that person goes and dropping any commitments that can get in the way of you spending time with that person. With all these obsessive behaviors, that person could refuse you, and you will still refuse to listen. As a result, there may be legal ramifications like a restraining order or being arrested.
What Causes Obsessive Love Disorder?
This disorder can be the result of several mental health disorders. It can be a symptom of:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Delusional Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder is when your mood switches from one minute being extremely happy to the next being extremely angry. This can make your relationship unpredictable, where you act in love with someone to want to hurt them next.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is when you love yourself more than anything and anyone. You will want all the attention on you, and if you are not getting it, you will become obsessed with getting it. This can result in an obsession with the one you are infatuated with because you will want them to love you as much as you love yourself.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder is when you are always the center of attention, and you need to be constantly surrounded by people. If you are not, you will become bored, which can lead to an obsession with someone.
Bipolar Disorder is when your mood changes from one extreme to another, similar to Borderline Personality Disorder. This can result in an unhealthy obsession because you will either be in love with that person or want to hurt them.
Delusional Disorder is when you have false beliefs about someone. For example, you may believe that the person you are infatuated with loves you in return, even though their actions and words do not indicate this. This can result in an obsession because you will do anything to make that person love you.
Erotomania is when you believe someone loves you even though they have never shown interest in you; the person may even be a stranger. This can result in an obsession because you will do anything to make that person love you. It is very common for celebrities and high-status individuals to be the focus of this compulsion.
Additionally, the cause could also be due to an unhealthy attachment style that was developed in childhood. This can happen when a parent is overprotective or if the child was neglected. An unhealthy attachment style can also result from a previous relationship where the person was cheated on or abandoned.
There are also outside factors that can contribute to developing an obsessive love disorder. If you have low self-esteem, are insecure, or have trust issues, you may be more likely to develop this disorder.
Can This Disorder Be Treated?
Obsessive love disorder can be treated. You can take anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax, antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. Medication should not be the only thing to rely on for this disorder, as you need to find out the underlying causes of why you are obsessed with that particular person.
You should also think about your relationships. For example, did you receive love from your parents or siblings as a child? You could be trying to compensate for those missing feelings in someone else.
Carefully identify your obsessive thoughts and behaviors:
- Do you look at your phone to see how many calls you made to that person?
- What things have you said?
- What makes you upset by that person’s actions when they reject you?
How To Begin Treating Yourself?
Write down everything you discover, such as:
- How that person makes you feel
- How you feel when they are gone
- What the causes of those feelings are
You can either tear or burn away your letter so that you can symbolically let go of these feelings.
Afraid of being alone? Then join a club or a class to meet new people. Or, give your friends and family some of your attention.
You should get rid of anything that reminds you of that person, like photos or personal belongings. Remove any posts from your social media newsfeed. In fact, unfollow them all together. This way, you don’t have constant reminders of that person’s existence. You also avoid the pain of seeing them converse with others.
If you feel these thoughts coming on again, you can do something about it. For example, you could wear a rubber band and snap it to “snap out” of your unhealthy thoughts. That may sound silly, but it can work.
Find healthy distractions to avoid thinking of that person, like:
- Reading a good book
- Listening to music
- Playing video games or musical instruments
- Draw or paint
Meditative breathing can also be helpful by inhaling for four seconds, holding for another four seconds, and then exhaling for eight seconds. Visualize yourself in a place where you feel calm and serene. For example, when you go to the beach, you feel the ocean’s mist and the softness beneath you. You can also vent to a friend or relative and ask them what to do or speak to a therapist if these thoughts can more and more out of control.
Get Treatment Today
If you suffer from obsessive love disorder, you don’t have to fight it alone. At Bayview Recovery Center, we treat a variety of mental health disorders, including:
- Substance abuse disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Call 855.478.3650 today or contact us online to learn more about our treatment programs.
Dave Cundiff, MD, MPH is an experienced leader in the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment. He works with patients suffering from Substance Use Disorder to evaluate their medication needs and prescribe treatments accordingly. In addition, he regularly participates in all-staff debriefing sessions involving peers, nurses, and other prescribers. He also reviews and advises on policies, procedures, and techniques for treating substance use disorder.