e-book Evolution and Delusional Jealousy

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However, the second response was an irrational interpretation which may lead to damaging the relationship beyond repair. In this article, we will examine the emotion of jealousy similarly and identify when it is irrational.

In addition, we will look at other meanings of the emotion of jealousy and how to determine what the feeling is indicating. Finally, we will examine the causes of irrational jealousy and focus on methods of learning how to handle jealousy when it is irrational. Jealousy has long intrigued and devastated humankind. If you examine classics of literature or even the Bible you will find numerous tales of jealousy and revenge.

Early in the 's researchers were examining jealousy in college students. One reviewer of this research stated," It is a safeguard against the social instinct, and mutual aid forms a strong off-set to jealousy Withey, Jealousy is an emotion based upon loss or the fear of loss such as a relationship or friendship. Other emotions such as anxiety, anger, grief, or sadness are typically present. Often, the individual experiences negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity. Although very similar, jealousy and envy are not considered the same emotion. Jealousy relates to the loss of something the person already possesses whereas envy is the desire for something the person does not possess.

However, it can be argued that in some circumstances jealousy and envy may be virtually identical.


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For instance, if a person was passed over for a promotion, she may feel envious towards the co-worker who received the promotion. Since she didn't lose something she already possessed her job , it wouldn't be considered jealousy. However, we could state that she did lose something in her possession such as her sense of adequacy or competence that the promotion represented. In which case the feelings towards the co-worker could be considered jealousy. Therefore, even though scientific research makes a distinction between jealousy and envy, I think for the purposes of this article we will use both terms because many of the issues we cover will be very similar, if not identical.

As stated previously, all emotions are normal.

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Aspects of morbid jealousy

Jealousy is a normal emotion. Imagine that a woman just found out that her husband decided to leave her for another woman. Naturally, she may feel jealous of the other woman. In this instance, the jealousy she experiences is part of the grieving process for her. Her anger and jealousy is directed at the object of her husband's attentions.

Or, for instance, many adolescent girls experience intense emotions in their friendships such that if a friend chooses to spend more time with another friend they may experience rejection, loss, and jealousy. Unfortunately, if they do not have assistance developing methods of resolving this issue, they are likely to permanently destroy the friendship due to the resentment and jealousy.

However, in fact, this normal jealousy is an important experience in learning to develop emotionally mature relationships. Most adolescents eventually learn that the situation is not truly rejection and that they haven't lost the friendship. They learn that another person may have room for more than one close friendship.


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  • However, some individuals do not learn this lesson and will continue to develop emotionnally immature relationships into adulthood. As you may notice from these examples, the common feature of normal jealousy is that the intensity decreases over time and that it lasts only a short while. Such is true of most normal emotions. Now, certainly the length will vary depending upon the circumstances, but eventually the person resolves the emotion and psychologically moves on. However, with irrational jealousy the individual can remain stuck in the emotional experience for an indeterminate amount of time.

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    In fact, without specific efforts to change, it may never change. As with any emotion, normal jealousy tells us to examine a situation or ourselves more closely. It may help us to become more aware of our own insecurities so that we can address them. For example, every time a woman is out with her husband, he is checking out other women and flirting with them.

    The woman may find that she is jealous of the other women. But if she examines the situation, the jealousy may be telling her that she is hurt that her husband isn't wanting to give her attention and that he's not concerned about her emotions. This recognition gives her the opportunity to discuss her feelings with him and hopefully resolve the problem.

    Throughout the history of humanity, it has been necessary to develop social relationships so as to survive. In that framework, it makes sense that people would develop jealousy as a way of warning them to protect their resources to improve chances for survival. As with many evolutionary behaviors, jealousy may not be as necessary for survival but it is still a thriving force within our social groups. In terms of warning, if we look at the above situation again, the woman's jealousy may have been trying to communicate the possibility that her husband might leave her.

    Much improvement. Tarrier also described non-psychotic jealousy and likened jealous thoughts to obsessions, being intrusive, unpleasant, irrational and accompanied by behavioral actions like checking or reassurance seeking [4]. The preoccupation, confirmatory behavior, avoidance, distress and rumination described in non psychotic cases was suggestive of obsessions and responded to behavioral strategies commonly used in OCD.

    Dolan and Bishay used cognitive behavioral strategies to treat 30 patients of non-psychotic morbid jealousy and reported significant improvement in all jealousy measures, although they did not specify whether the patients were obsessive [10]. Since the arrival of antiobsesional drugs in the scene, several authors have described cases of obsessional jealousy showing good response to SSRI and clomipramine, a synopsis of which is presented in Table 6 [].

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    These patients commonly presented with thoughts of possible infidelity of partner, recognized as unwanted and doubtful, resulting in anxiety on separation. Most patients harangued, asked for reassurance of spouse and spied on them. Ego dystonicity varied in patients, and Lane justified egosyntonic thoughts by the fact that OCD patients view their preoccupation as realistic when compulsions are prevented [11].

    Taking this variability into consideration, Stein and Hollander put forth the notion of a spectrum from obsessional to delusional [13].


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    • Parker and Barrett noticed absence of ego-dystony, resistance and guilt and called jealousy a variant of OCD [15]. The review by Kingham and Gordon emphasizing on form of psychopathology obsession, overvalued idea or delusion rather than content jealousy was thus timely to bring clarity to the concept [18].

      What are Paranoid Delusions (Persecutory Delusions)?

      Last but not the least, psychiatry is continually evolving from psychodynamic, cognitive and behavioral schools towards biological bases of psychiatric disorders, and sophisticated imaging techniques have implicated the basal ganglia and its circuits in the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

      This is borne out by several organic cases of obsessional jealousy reported Table 7 , which reported good response to SSRIs [19][20][21]. Table 6: Cases seen by various authors after advent of antiobsessional drugs. Family History. Time for response. Duration of illness. Belief strength. Lane, Panic D. Imipramine mg. Gross, Stein, Hollander, OCD, S. Imipramine, mg. Fluoxetine 80mg.

      Fluoxetine 80 mg. Fluoxetine 30 mg. Sertraline mg. Few yrs. No insight.

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      Near delusion. Wright, OCD esp. Fluoxetine 40 mg. Recognized as irrational. Parker, Barrett, Recognized as excessive. Gangdev, Fluoxetine 20 mg. Recognized as untrue. Lawrie, Mood disorder. Clomipramine 60 mg. Organic Disorder. Wing Head injury. Westlake Chacko Bilateral basal ganglia infarct. Case Series:.

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      The 7 cases reported in the series were from a General Hospital Psychiatry Unit in India seen by us over a span of 2 years. An illustrative case is presented below. The clinical characteristics and treatment results of all patients are tabulated in Table 8. He had repeated thoughts that his wife was not faithful and would object to his wife talking with any male. He was unsure about the truth of these thoughts, considering them excessive and unreasonable and developed guilt as a result.

      With the birth of their first child a year after marriage, he had repeated doubts that the child was not his. These thoughts led to checking on his wife all the time, questioning her meticulously regarding her whereabouts, leading to marital discord.