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My Friend Is Unhealthy Obsessed with a Celebrity

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have a friend who was married 8 months ago. She has recently found out that she may be pregnant which is happy news since they have been trying for about a month. However if she had a discussion with me that greatly concerns me. Her favorite band is playing in Chicago, states away and she immediately bought plane and concert tickets for her and me so she could go see them. However she is obsessed with the leader of the band. She says that he is the exact same guy that she has seen in her dreams as a love interest before she even knew this guy existed in real life. She is taking this trip to Chicago just to meet this guy. She says that according to his personal details she thinks they would have a soul connection and that if they were in a relationship it would be intense and he would understand her more than her current husband. She is convinced her dreams mean she needs to be with this guy and that if she goes to Chicago he will want to be in a relationship with her.

And the past few months she’s also been struggling with a recurrence of anxiety and depression. She spoke with her husband about this today and it looks like they will be taking a break and possibly talking about a divorce. The level of Obsession she has with this band member is concerning seemingly along the lines of celebrity worship. The thing is I don’t know how to help her or approach her about her needing help for this. She is normally a rational person but regarding this she is completely irrational and is convinced that things like her having a love dream about him and then waking up to find that he is like something she posted on his Twitter means that this is Destiny. I don’t really know her all that well and we’re more like really good acquaintances or low-level friends so it’s hard to be honest or Frank with her that she needs help. How can I help her?

I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of only a letter, of course. But what you are describing is consistent with a diagnosis of erotomania. This is a psychotic disorder where a person truly believes that a (usually famous or high status) stranger is a love interest. Since this occurred when your friend got pregnant, I have to wonder if something either medical or psychological was triggered by the pregnancy.

You probably can’t help her with this. Her husband, however, may be able to. Do share this information with him. She needs help, not a “break” from the marriage. I hope he’ll be able to get her to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Her health, the marriage, and the baby’s health depend on it.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

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