Folie à deux

Folie à deux (literally, "a madness shared by two") is a rare psychiatric syndrome in which a symptom of psychosis (particularly a paranoid or delusional belief) is transmitted from one individual to another. The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie à famille or even folie à plusieurs (madness of many). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (folie à deux) (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name.

Presentation

This case study is taken from Enoch and Ball's 'Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes' (2001, p181):

:Margaret and her husband Michael, both aged 34 years, were discovered to be suffering from "folie à deux" when they were both found to be sharing similar persecutory delusions. They believed that certain persons were entering their house, spreading dust and fluff and "wearing down their shoes". Both had, in addition, other symptoms supporting a diagnosis of paranoid psychosis, which could be made independently in either case.

This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.

Various sub-classifications of "folie à deux" have been proposed to describe how the delusional belief comes to be held by more than one person.

* Folie imposée is where a dominant person (known as the 'primary', 'inducer' or 'principal') initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the 'secondary', 'acceptor' or 'associate') with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to their own devices. If the parties are admitted to hospital separately then the delusions in the person with the induced beliefs usually resolve without the need of medication.
* Folie simultanée describes the situation where two people, considered to independently suffer from psychosis, influence the content of each other's delusions so they become identical or strikingly similar.

Folie à deux and its more populous cousins are in many ways a psychiatric curiosity. The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that a person cannot be diagnosed as being delusional if the belief in question is one "ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture" (see entry for delusion). It is not clear at what point a belief considered to be delusional escapes from the "folie à..." diagnostic category and becomes legitimate because of the number of people holding it. When a large number of people may come to believe obviously false and potentially distressing things based purely on hearsay, these beliefs are not considered to be clinical delusions by the psychiatric profession and are labelled instead as mass hysteria.

Being defined as a rare pathological manifestation, folie à deux is rarely found in general psychology or social psychology text books, and is relatively unknown outside abnormal psychology, psychiatry and psychopathology.

Related phenomena

There have been reports that a similar phenomenon to folie à deux had been induced by the military incapacitating agent BZ in the late 60s, and most recently again by anthropologists in the South American rainforest consuming the hallucinogen ayahuasca (Metzner, 1999).

In media

*The film "Heavenly Creatures", directed by Peter Jackson, was inspired by the true story of two teenage girls who develop a strong relationship based around a shared fantasy world.
*"Folie à deux" is the title of an episode of "The X-Files", in which Mulder shares the belief with a telemarketer that an employee of the telemarketing firm is a monster.
*In the "Six Feet Under" episode "Parallel Play," George Sibley refers to Ruth Fisher and Arthur Martin's brief and curious romantic interlude as a "folie à deux".
*"Folie à deux" was referenced and defined in an episode of "Criminal Minds" entitled , in which a pair of serial killers kidnapped, tortured, and murdered several young women; in this episode, the primary, or dominant, perpetrator was a woman.
*The film "Bug" portrays a "folie à deux" involving a man and woman who believe they are infested with government-implanted, nano-technological insects.
*In the book "Bridge to Terabithia" a small boy embraces a fantasy world with a girl.

ee also

*Delusion
*Delusional disorder
*Psychosis

Further reading

* Halgin, R. & Whitbourne, S. (2002) "Abnormal Psychology: Clinical Perspectives on Psychological Disorders". McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0072817216
* Enoch, D. & Ball, H. (2001) Folie à deux (et Folie à plusieurs). In Enoch, D. & Ball, H. "Uncommon psychiatric syndromes (Fourth edition)". London: Arnold. ISBN 0340763884
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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Folie a deux — Folie à deux Pour les articles homonymes, voir Folie à deux (homonymie). En psychologie, la folie à deux est une psychopathologie qui se manifeste par la transmission de symptômes psychotiques d une personne à une autre. La vision délirante du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Folie À Deux — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Folie à deux (homonymie). En psychologie, la folie à deux est une psychopathologie qui se manifeste par la transmission de symptômes psychotiques d une personne à une autre. La vision délirante du monde de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Folie A Deux — Folie à deux (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. La folie à deux est une psychopathologie. Folie à deux est un court métrage américain réalisé par Devin Anderson en 2007. Folie à …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Folie à Deux — (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. La folie à deux est une psychopathologie. Folie à deux est un court métrage américain réalisé par Devin Anderson en 2007. Folie à deux est un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Folie à Deux — Folie A Deux Альбом Fall Out Boy Дата выпуска Австралия/Новая Зеландия 13 декабря 2008 Великобритания 14 декабря 2008 США 16 декабря 2008 Записан Los Angeles, California …   Википедия

  • folie a deux — folie à deux (.)ä dǣ, də n, pl folies à deux .fō lē(z) (.)ä the presence of the same or similar delusional ideas in two persons closely associated with one another …   Medical dictionary

  • folie a deux — Véase trastorno paranoide compartido. Diccionario Mosby Medicina, Enfermería y Ciencias de la Salud, Ediciones Hancourt, S.A. 1999 …   Diccionario médico

  • folie à deux — [fō̂ lē ȧ dö′] n. [Fr, lit., double insanity] Psychiatry a condition in which two closely associated people who are mentally ill share the same delusional beliefs …   English World dictionary

  • Folie à deux —   (induziertes Irresein): von C. Lasègue erstmals 1873 gebrauchte Bezeichnung für die kritiklose Übernahme bestimmter wahnhafter Symptome (z. B. Halluzinationen oder Wahnideen) eines Patienten mit gravierender psychiatrischer Erkrankung durch… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Folie à deux — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Folie à deux (homonymie). Folie à deux Classification et ressources externes CIM 10 F24 CIM 9 …   Wikipédia en Français

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