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Renfield syndrome, also known as clinical vampirism, is a mental disorder somewhat recognised by doctors in modern times as the obsession to drink blood. The term was first coined by Richard Noll and is named after Dracula's insect-eating assistant, Renfield, in the novel by Bram Stoker.
People who suffer from this condition are primarily male. The craving for blood arises from the idea that it conveys life-enhancing powers. According to Noll, the condition starts with a key event in childhood which causes the experience of blood injury or the ingestion of blood to be exciting. After puberty, the excitement is experienced as sexual arousal. Throughout adolescence and adulthood, blood, its presence and consumption can also stimulate a sense of power and control. Noll explains that the Renfield Syndrome begins with autovampirism and then progresses to the consumption of the blood of other creatures.
The usefulness of this diagnostic label remains in question. Very few cases of the syndrome have been described, and those published reports that do exist refer to what has been proposed as Renfield's syndrome through the use of official psychiatric diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia or as a variety of paraphilia.
See also Edit
- Noll, Richard (1992). Vampires, Werewolves and Demons: twentieth century reports in the psychiatric literature, Brunner/Mazel Publications. ISBN 0-87630-632-6.
- Crimelibrary.com: Richard Trenton Chase, a serial killer with Renfield's Syndrome
- Crimelibrary.com: Description of Renfield's Syndrome
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