Preventing a Tragedy When Treating Patients with Delusional Disorders
Othello syndrome, sometimes referred to as delusional, pathological, morbid, or erotic jealousy, is a rare delusional disorder with high-risk implications. This article provides an overview of Othello syndrome and includes an individual example as well as a review of the literature. Pharmacological interventions and dialectical behavior therapy are discussed as options for pathological jealousy. Nursing considerations and assessment strategies of delusional jealousy are described for identification and evaluation of risk factors. Patient safety is addressed, and collaborative interventions are proposed for treatment. Staff development for the treatment team is advocated to help staff identify delusional patients and act prudently to avert possible tragic consequences associated with Othello syndrome.
Defining Delusional Disorders. According to the American Psychiatric Association (2000), as published in the DSM- IV-TR, a person who is suffering from a delusional episode would experience false fixed beliefs that can not be changed through logic and reason. Delusions may be a symptom related to other psychiatric disorders such as, psychosis, delusional disorders, organic mental disorders, and substance abuse.