Clinical vampirism

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Clinical vampirism Empty Clinical vampirism

Post by mrd3f417 29.10.21 10:06

Clinical vampirism, more commonly known as Renfield's syndrome or Renfield syndrome, is an obsession with drinking blood. The earliest formal presentation of clinical vampirism to appear in the psychiatric literature, with the psychoanalytic interpretation of two cases, was contributed by Richard L. Vanden Bergh and John F. Kelley.[1] As the authors point out, in 2010, over 50,000 people addicted to drinking blood have appeared in the psychiatric literature at least since 1892, documented in the work of Austrian forensic psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. Many medical publications concerning clinical vampirism can be found in the literature of forensic psychiatry, with the unusual behavior reported as one of many aspects of extraordinary violent crimes


The term Renfield's syndrome began unintentionally: Richard Noll intended its first use to be a parody of the psychiatry of the 1980s. The joke was taken seriously in popular culture.[5] The original term, clinical vampirism which has effectively been replaced, appears to have doubtful utility (making it a suitable subject for satire), and neither clinical vampirism nor Renfield's syndrome has ever been listed as a valid diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). However, some writers have philosophically pointed out that it does serve as a useful demonstration of the bad effects of creating unfounded names for psychological illnesses.

Clinical vampirism before Renfield's syndrome

The prior diagnosis clinical vampirism is somewhat different from Renfield's syndrome: Clinical vampirism usually connotated an erotic obsession with blood; Renfield's syndrome is more of a form of eating disorder involving living animals (like the bugs and rats eaten by Renfield in Bram Stoker's fictional story, described in the following section(s)).

According to the case history reports in the older psychiatric literature – that formed the basis of Noll's parody – the condition starts with a key event in childhood that 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 its consumption can also stimulate a sense of power and control. Noll speculated that Renfield's 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.[citation needed] Very few cases of the syndrome have been described, and the published reports that what have been proposed as examples, refer to clinical vampirism or Renfield's syndrome, but describe the case using official psychiatric diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia, or one of the varieties of paraphilia. This diagnosis is not recognized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV.

Origin of Renfield's syndrome

The syndrome is named after R. M. Renfield, Dracula's human zoophagous follower in the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker. Clinical psychologist Richard Noll coined the eponymous term in a 1992 book.[9] In a web interview with psychology professor Katherine Ramsland, Noll explains how he invented the term and its purported diagnostic criteria as a whimsical parody of 1980s' psychiatry and "new DSM-speak".[5]

In a public lecture hosted by Penn State University's Institute for the Arts and Humanities on 7 October 2013, Noll traced the 20 year trajectory of his unintentionally created "monster" from the moment of its creation as a parody of DSM mental disorders to the cultural popularity of Renfield's syndrome today

Television and internet video

In an NBC pre-Halloween special hosted by actor Peter Graves entitled "The Unexplained: Witches, Werewolves and Vampires" that aired on 23 October 1994 (and is available on YouTube, with the 34m11s mark beginning the segment), pages from Noll's book were shown on camera as Canadian psychologist Leonard George summarized Renfield's syndrome for a wide television audience

Characters suffering from Renfield's Syndrome have appeared on television.

The first appeared in a 2005 episode of CSI titled "Committed" (Season 5, Episode 21)
It was also mentioned in 2009 in episode 7, season 5 of Criminal Minds entitled "The Performer"
In 2010 an 11-episode Canadian television series, The Renfield Syndrome, was filmed in Vancouver, B.C., but does not seem to have been aired
On 15 August 2012 Renfield's syndrome was the subject of a video segment on The Huffington Post by Cara Santa Maria which again relied heavily on Noll's work and a recent scholarly article on the (pseudo-)syndrome published in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences


In addition to references to Renfield's syndrome in psychiatric literature and mass media, it has also appeared popular literature.

Horror writer Chelsea Quinn Yarbro published a story entitled "Renfield's Syndrome" in July 2002, which was then reprinted in an anthology that appeared the following year.[19]
It is also the title of a novel by J.A. Saare
Jo Nesbo’s The Thirst refers also to Reinfield syndrome.

Back-diffusion into academic literature

Once it was adopted in popular culture, clinical vampirism has been referred to as Renfield's syndrome in academic literature as well. The 20 year evolution of a farcical 3 page book section that shot through the mass media and then – uncritically – into the pages of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal should serve as a cautionary tale about the purported validity of other "mental disorders."

Philosopher of science Ian Hacking refers to this process as "making up people" and critiques medical and psychiatric elites for the untoward effects of their "dynamic nominalism" on individual lives. Such arbitrary categories create new natural "kinds" of people (e.g., perverts, multiple personalities and so on) that serve larger political, cultural and moral purposes and change with historical contingencies

Renfield Syndrome is real!

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Post by Candide 28.05.23 0:02

Yes, but we don’t call it “Renfield syndrome,” especially since Richard Noll had every intention of making a joke out of a mental health disorder. It is simply clinical vampirism. Anything else is disrespectful.

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Post by Lazarus. 08.04.24 9:36

Ripped straight from Wikipedia lmfao.

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