The concept of lovesickness might be more than just a flighty poetic notion, as it can burden the afflicted with genuine mental trauma, a British psychological study warned

In the most serious cases the “disease” can prove fatal, the researchers said, calling for lovesickness to be taken more seriously by the medical profession.



For many centuries, the manias, depressions and obsessions associated with romantic love were considered a genuine state of mind rather than an affectation, clinical psychologist and author Dr Frank Tallis said.



However, in the past two centuries lovesickness had fallen out of favour as a proper diagnosis, Tallis said in a report for The Psychologist magazine, the official publication of the British Psychological Society.



In the modern era, while love was still associated with madness, this was only likely to be in the lyrics of a pop song, Tallis noted.



“The average clinical psychologist will not receive referral letters from GPs (general practitioners) and psychiatrists mentioning lovesickness,” Tallis said.



“However, careful examination of the sanitised language will reveal that lovesickness may well be the underlying problem.



“Many people are referred for help who cannot cope with the intensity of love, have been destabilised by falling in love, or who suffer on account of their love being unrequited.”



Symptoms can include mania, such as elevated moods and inflated self-esteem, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, such as repeatedly checking for e-mails.



The most serious cases could lead to suicide, the article said.



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