- clinical lycanthropy
- Also known as lycanthropy and lycomania. The term clinical lycanthropy comes from the Greek words klinikos (pertaining to a bed), lukos (wolf), and anthropos (man). It is used to denote the delusional conviction that one has become a wolf or has the potential to become a wolf. The adjective 'clinical' serves to distinguish this delusion from lycanthropy as described in mythology, i.e. a metaphysical affliction in which people are believed to physically metamorphize into wolves (i.e. into lycanthropes or werewolves) and back again into their human form. In a broader sense, the term lycanthropy is used to denote the delusional conviction that one can be - or has been - transformed into an animal, and/or the display of animal-like behaviour suggesting such a conviction. However, the proper generic name for this latter type of delusion would then be therianthropy or zoanthropy. Clinical lycan-thropy is an extremely rare condition, with only about 30 reported cases in the literature of the past 25 years. In clinical practice it tends to be diagnosed either as * schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression, depending on the accompanying signs and symptoms. Although strictly speaking clinical lycanthropy is a delusional rather than a hallucinatory condition, it can in some instances co-occur with *hypercoenesthesiopathy, a condition characterized by an increased or hypertrophied feeling of bodily awareness, or with * paracoenesthesiopathy, a condition characterized by a qualitatively altered feeling of bodily awareness. The latter two conditions are neurological syndromes associated with lesions affecting one or more parts of the parietal cortex involved with embodiment and corporeal awareness (more specifically, the premo-tor cortex). Incidentally, as early as 1584 the British author Reginald Scot (c. 1538-1599) maintained that "lycanthropia is a disease and not a transformation".ReferencesGarlipp, P., Gödecke-Koch, T., Dietrich, D.E., Haltenhof, H. (2004). Lycanthropy - Psychopathological and psychodynamical aspects. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 109, 19-22.Moselhy, H.F. (1999). Lycanthropy: New evidence of its origin. Psychopathology, 32, 173-176.Robbins, R.H. (1959). The encyclopaedia of witchcraft and demonology. London: Peter Nevill Limited.Scot, R. (1584). The discovery of witchcraft. London: R.C.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.