Folie à Deux (shared madness): the strangest cases

the Madness for two or shared psychotic disorder is one of those phenomena that are difficult to explain. How can two people share a psychotic epidemic? There are not many reported cases of the disease, but its presence continues to surprise psychologists and psychiatrists around the world.

The rarity of La Folie à Deux has inspired various novels and films. He was brought to the theaters with the movie Heavenly Creatures, in which two young girls suffer from the shared delirium they needed to kill the mother of one of them to stay together, and the movie Intruders. Also, in one of the chapters of the famous Expedient X series, an individual makes everyone believe that his boss is a monster.

What is Madness for Two?

When we talk about what reality is, we tend to understand it as the objective truth that always stays there, even if no one is paying attention or thinking about it. Reality is therefore the goal, which does not depend on points of view. Thus, it is easy for a person to develop a distorted view of reality, but it is understood that dialogue between different people allows us to approach a more realistic view of things. But … what happens when two or more people perceive reality in a totally illusory way? This is what happens in La Folie à Deux.

This disorder occurs when two or more people share psychiatric symptoms, usually delusions. Although in CIE-10 and DSM-IV-TR Madness for Two is considered a type of psychotic disorder, in DSM V it is relocated and there is no specific distinction for this psychopathology.

‘Folie à Deux’ means crazy return

The name Folie à Deux, which literally means folie à deux, has a French origin as it was first used to describe the case of Margaret and Michael’s marriage. This couple experienced this shared psychotic disorder. Psychiatrists did not know which of the two started the cycle of psychosis, however. both were immersed in a feedback loop that reinforced the illusions of marriage.

They both thought their house was in the crosshairs of different random people. These people never stole them or tried to destroy their house, but scattered dust or pieces of hair around the house, or walked in the couple’s shoes until they were wearing their soles.

Who can suffer from Madness for Two?

Generally, people who suffer from Madness for Two tend to have a close relationship and a high level of social isolation. for that it can occur between members of a marriage, between siblings or between parents and children.

The case of sisters Úrsula and Sabina Eriksson

A very notorious case occurred in 2008, when Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, twin sisters, arrested for attempted suicide while crossing the highway. Then berating the officers and paramedics and accusing them of wanting to steal their organs and that they weren’t real, vsonsiguieron crosses the highway and gets hit by two vehicles.

Ursula was seriously injured after being hit by a truck, while Sabrina, after being hit by a car, recovered a few days later. After spending a night in the dungeon trying to attack the officers, I continue their delusions. The same day he took to the streets, murdered a man and tried to kill himself again. She was sentenced to five years in prison. The incident was recorded by police cameras. We warn you that the images are harsh.

Folie in Trois: another bizarre case of shared psychotic disorder

Another case that has become famous is that of three American sisters who starred in a Three-Way Madness affair. None of them had been abused or had a medical history of mental illness. The turmoil suddenly arose when the three sisters tightened their bond as the eldest child needed help looking after their children. The other two sisters moved into a house next door, so they spent a lot of time together.

Over time, the three sisters had strong religious beliefs and the little one began to wonder how there could be different interpretations of the Bible. In her shared delirium, it was she who was chosen to bring order to this situation. After three days of prayer, without sleep, the sisters felt they had to start their work in a house that was not theirs. They went to this house and kindly asked the owners to let them in. When they were rejected, they tried to enter the house. then the police made an appearance, prompting the three sisters to attack the officers.

Causes of shared psychotic disorder

Although the origin of this disorder is not at all clear, a characteristic trait that usually appears in these cases, in addition to the close relationship, is the social isolation of the two limbs. Outraged, a stressful situation can trigger psychotic symptoms.

Experts believe that among the players in this psychopathology is a dominant person who is the first to suffer from the disorder, and a dependent person who is seen as a person induced by the disorder.

Possible treatments for this disorder

The purpose of processing is separate the induced person and try to stabilize the dominant person. Therefore, there may be different treatment for the two affected people.

This treatment requires psychotherapy to help the patient recognize that he has the condition. As well as to deal with the emotional and relationship issues that are present in the disorder. Pharmacological treatment is also necessary to act directly on psychotic symptoms. Therefore, antipsychotics should be administered to stabilize the patient with delirium.

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