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HealthOthello syndrome: causes, symptoms and treatment

Othello syndrome: causes, symptoms and treatment

Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

People who have pathological jealousy need psychological treatment

Othello syndrome is known by this name because of the character in Shakespeare’s play, who is characterized by unhealthy jealousy and the constant belief that his partner is unfaithful.

Based on the story created by the famous author, psychological science chose the name.

Although the disorder is named this way, it is actually pathological jealousy or jealousy with serious consequences for people’s mental health and their daily functioning.

In the explanation of Othello syndrome, the focus is on different causes. Among them is the psychological vulnerability of the jealous person.

It manifests itself in emotional dependence, fear of abandonment, personal insecurity, excessive need for support, among other aspects.

Finally, it is very important to investigate the presence of other disorders that may underlie the development of pathological jealousy. For example, generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder or paranoid disorder.

The delusional belief about the alleged infidelity is constantly present, even when there is no evidence. Thus, a person with pathological jealousy will find signs of deception where there are none. He himself will look for reasons to question the fidelity of his partner.

There are three main characteristics of pathological jealousy:

• Lack of real reason

• Strange grounds for suspicion

• Excessive and irrational reaction

Among the typical symptoms of Othello syndrome we find the following:

• Hypervigilance and constant alertness: As this idea of ​​cheating is maintained all the time, there is also a state of alertness to check cheating at all times.

• Obsessive and controlling attitudes: these are manifested by a complete lack of respect for the other person’s space or their belongings. The partner is monitored, spontaneous visits are made either to the workplace or to their social gatherings.

• Physical or verbal abuse: against the person accused of infidelity. There are insults, shouting, accusations and attacks.

• Cognitive bias: confirmation bias leads to interpreting only that information that confirms what is already believed.

• Constant presence of negative emotions: such as anger, guilt, rage, resentment

People who have pathological jealousy need psychological treatment to work on delusional and paranoid thoughts about jealousy and infidelity. As the relationship continues, it is important to have couples therapy at some point.

Sometimes the partner of the jealous person can adjust to his demands, limiting his life. Another common scenario is to resort to certain behaviors to avoid the scenes without realizing that this reinforces them and increases mistrust.

For example, it is common to tell a lie to avoid starting an argument. However, the jealous person interprets this lie as actually concealing a deception.

On the other hand, jealousy has a huge emotional impact on the jealous person’s partner. Consequently, his mental health also starts to be affected at some point.

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