Obsessive Love Disorder: When Love Becomes a Dangerous Obsession

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) is a condition that affects a person’s ability to have a healthy and balanced relationship with another person. It is characterized by an intense and overwhelming fixation on one individual, often to the point where the person’s life becomes consumed by thoughts of that person. People with OLD may need to constantly check on their loved ones, become jealous and possessive, and even engage in stalking or other harmful behaviors.

While it is normal to feel strong emotions for someone, obsessive love goes beyond that and can have severe consequences for the individual with the disorder and their loved one. It is essential to recognize the signs of OLD and seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. Proper treatment makes it possible to manage the disorder and have healthy relationships.

This article will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for obsessive love disorder. We will also discuss related conditions and provide tips for managing the disorder. Understanding this condition aims to raise awareness and promote healthy relationships for all.

Obsessive Love

Understanding Obsessive Love Disorder

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) is a psychological condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It is a type of love characterized by an intense and overwhelming fixation on another person. People with OLD may feel like they cannot live without their loved one and may go to great lengths to maintain their relationship, even if it is unhealthy.


Obsessive Love Disorder is not a recognized mental health condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, it is a term commonly used to describe a pattern of behavior associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD). People with OLD may exhibit symptoms of both conditions, but they are different.


The symptoms of Obsessive Love Disorder can vary from person to person, but they generally involve an intense and overwhelming fixation on another person. Some of the most common symptoms of OLD include:

  • Fixating on one person
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to let go of a relationship
  • Stalking or harassing behavior
  • Compulsive behavior, such as calling or texting excessively
  • Feeling like you cannot live without your loved one
  • Feeling like your loved one is the only person who can make you happy


The exact causes of Obsessive Love Disorder are poorly understood, but they are thought to be related to genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some of the most common causes of OLD include:

  • Childhood trauma or neglect
  • Attachment issues
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder
  • Substance abuse or addiction

Diagnosis of Obsessive Love Disorder

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have obsessive love disorder (OLD), it is essential to seek professional help. A mental health professional typically diagnoses OLD after conducting a thorough evaluation. This section will discuss the two main methods used in analyzing OLD.

Psychological Evaluation

A psychological evaluation is the most common method used to diagnose OLD. During this evaluation, a mental health professional will ask questions to assess the person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The questions will likely cover topics such as:

  • The intensity of the person’s feelings towards the object of their affection
  • The extent to which the person’s thoughts and behaviors revolve around the object of their affection
  • The person’s level of distress or impairment as a result of their feelings and behaviors

The mental health professional may also use standardized questionnaires or assessments to help diagnose OLD. For example, the Love Attitudes Scale is a questionnaire that measures a person’s attitudes towards love and relationships.

Medical Tests

Sometimes, a medical evaluation may be necessary to rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to the person’s symptoms. For example, a brain scan may be ordered to check for abnormalities or injuries affecting the person’s behavior.

It is important to note that no specific medical test can diagnose OLD. Instead, a diagnosis is based on a combination of the person’s symptoms, behaviors, and psychological evaluation.

Treatment Options

There are two main options when treating Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD): psychotherapy and medication. These treatments can be used alone or in combination, depending on the severity of the disorder and the individual’s needs.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a form of treatment that involves talking with a mental health professional. This therapy can effectively treat OLD because it helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their obsession.

One type of psychotherapy effective for OLD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs and develop healthier coping strategies. Other types of therapy, such as psychodynamic and interpersonal therapy, may also be helpful for some individuals.


Medication can also treat OLD, particularly if the individual is experiencing severe symptoms or has co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and anxiety.

It is important to note that medication should always be used with psychotherapy, as medication alone is unlikely to address the underlying issues contributing to OLD fully. Additionally, drugs may have side effects and can be habit-forming, so they should only be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

Living with Obsessive Love Disorder

Living with Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) can be challenging, but managing the symptoms and improving our quality of life is possible. This section will explore some self-care strategies and support groups that can help us cope with OLD.

Self-Care Strategies

Self-care is essential for managing OLD. Here are some strategies that can help:

  • Identify triggers: Pay attention to what triggers your obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Once you identify your triggers, you can take steps to avoid or manage them.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you stay present and reduce anxiety. Try meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy: Engaging in activities you enjoy can help distract you from obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Find activities that bring you joy and make time for them.
  • Take care of your physical health: Taking care of your physical health can help reduce stress and anxiety. Ensure you sleep well, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.
  • Set boundaries: Setting boundaries can help you maintain a healthy relationship with your loved one. Identify what you are comfortable with and communicate your boundaries.

Support Groups

Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment where we can share our experiences and learn from others. Here are some support groups that may be helpful:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI provides support groups for individuals with mental health conditions, including obsessive love disorder. These support groups are free and open to the public.
  • Obsessive Love Anonymous (OLA): OLA is a 12-step program for individuals with obsessive love disorder. The program is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and provides a structured approach to recovery.
  • Online support groups: There are many online support groups for individuals with obsessive love disorder. These groups can provide community support, even if you cannot attend in-person meetings.

Impact on Relationships

When someone is suffering from obsessive love disorder, it can have a significant impact on their relationships. In this section, we will discuss how this disorder can affect both personal and professional relationships.

Personal Relationships

Obsessive love disorder can cause someone to become overly possessive and controlling in their relationships. They may feel the need to monitor their partner’s activities and whereabouts constantly and may become jealous and suspicious of their partner’s interactions with others. This can lead to a breakdown in trust and communication and ultimately cause the relationship to fail.

Additionally, someone with obsessive love disorder may prioritize their partner’s needs and desires above their own to the point where they neglect their well-being. This can lead to resentment and frustration and can ultimately cause the relationship to become one-sided and unhealthy.

Professional Relationships

Obsessive love disorder can also impact someone’s professional relationships. They may become overly attached to a colleague or boss and go to great lengths to please or gain their approval. This can lead to a lack of boundaries and professionalism, ultimately harming their career.

Additionally, someone with obsessive love disorder may struggle to maintain healthy boundaries with coworkers and become fixated on specific individuals to the point where it becomes uncomfortable or inappropriate. This can lead to workplace tension and conflict and ultimately harm their professional reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes an obsession with a person?

Obsessive love disorder (OLD) is a complex condition caused by various factors. Some people develop this condition due to a history of childhood trauma or attachment issues. Others may have experienced rejection or abandonment in a past relationship. Additionally, some people may have a genetic predisposition to this condition.

What triggers obsessive love disorder?

Several triggers can lead to the development of obsessive love disorder. These include a recent breakup, rejection, or losing a loved one. Additionally, feelings of loneliness or low self-esteem can contribute to the development of this condition.

How do you know if you’re obsessed with someone?

It can be challenging to recognize the signs of obsessive love disorder, as the symptoms can be similar to those of a healthy romantic relationship. However, some common signs of this condition include constant thoughts about the person, an intense desire to be with them at all times, and an inability to focus on anything else.

How long does obsessive love last?

The duration of obsessive love disorder can vary from person to person. In some cases, the condition may only last a few weeks or months, while in others, it may persist for years. It is essential to seek treatment if you are experiencing symptoms of this condition, as it can harm your mental health and well-being.

What are the symptoms of obsessive love disorder?

Obsessive love disorder can manifest in a variety of ways. Some common symptoms include an intense desire to be with the person, constant thoughts about them, and an inability to focus on anything else. Additionally, people with this condition may engage in stalking or other controlling behaviors.

Can obsessive love be treated?

Yes, obsessive love disorder can be treated with therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, while medication can help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms of this condition.

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