Monday, June 3, 2013

6 Facts YOU Need to Know About Renfield's Syndrome

Welcome to Day One of Vampire Week here at Theresa's Haunted History!  When it comes to vampires, most of us are pretty well versed in your classic Hollywood-esque portrayal of a Transylvanian count or the ever-popular "sparkling vampire heartthrob."  And even though we KNOW vampires aren't real...the question still troubles a part of innermost conscious:  are we SURE there's no such thing as true vampires?

Well, that depends on your personal definition of "true vampire!"

Later in the week, we'll get into psychic or energy vampires, another form of "true vampire," as well as some cultural creepies that definitely have vampiric traits, but first, I wanted to share with you some facts about a disorder called Renfield's Syndrome, also known as clinical vampirism.

Dwight Frye as Renfield in Dracula

1. Renfield's Syndrome is an actual psychiatric disorder in which the patient feels a compulsion to consume blood.  This clinical vampirism, while recognized as its own disorder to most of the psychiatric world, is not found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV.  Rather, patients exhibiting this type of behavior are classified as schizophrenic or paraphiliac--a broad classification of disorders in which the patient becomes sexually aroused by atypical objects or situations.

2. Renfield's Syndrome was identified in 1992 by clinical psychologist Richard Noll, but there are references to a disorder believed to be the same as Renfield's in Psychopathia Sexualis, an 1886 text by German psychiatrist Richard van Krafft-Ebing.  Richard Noll went on to author many books on psychiatry and different sub-topics within the field, including Vampires, Werewolves and Demons, which chronicles years' worth of psychiatric cases with elements of the paranormal and supernatural.

3. The disorder was named after the Renfield character in Bram Stoker's Dracula.  This character was a mental patient who consumed flies and other small, living things, in order to somehow absorb their power.  Similarly, many suffering from Renfield's Syndrome believe that consuming blood will give them the power of the "donor."

4. This is a VERY rare disorder, and of those affected, the overwhelming majority are male.

5. Renfield's Syndrome typically manifests after the patient has a childhood experience in which the taste or sight of blood is associated with excitement or pleasure.  As the patient reaches puberty, these attractions to blood because sexualized.

6.  Renfield's Syndrome patients typically follow three stages of the disorder:

                     *The first stage consists of the the patient cutting himself and drinking his own blood.  This
                       stage is called autovampirism or autohemophagia.

                     *The second stage is the zoophagia stage, in which animal blood is obtained and consumed.
                       This blood can be obtained through killing small animals or stealing/obtaining it from a butcher

                     *The third and final stage is moving on to the blood of other humans, either from willing
                       donors, robbing blood banks, or unfortunately, murder.  This third and final stage is when
                       many patients end up committing violent crimes, including murder, in order to satiate their
                       compulsions.    

Listverse has compiled a list of the top 10 vampire serial killers throughout the world.  Make sure you check out the link...and sleep well tonight!

*Info for this article came largely from WiseGeek*

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