Renfield’s Syndrome is the psychiatric term for clinical vampirism, a syndrome involving the delusion of being a vampire and feeling the need for blood. The syndrome arises from the attraction to blood and the powers that blood possesses.
Psychologist Richard Noll, author of Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons and Diseases of the Mind, made the suggestion to rename clinical vampirism to Renfield’s Syndrome. He connects the similarities between patients that exhibit these behaviors Renfield from Dracula. Renfield is a mental patient who eats spiders and flies because he craves their life force. Noll states that clinical vampires are living humans that absorb lives, much like Renfield.
People who suffer symptoms of Renfield’s Syndrome are primarily male.
The stages of Renfield’s Syndrome include:
- An event before puberty causes the child to become sexually excited by a blood injury or the ingestion or blood.
- During puberty, blood becomes fused with sexual fantasies. The person may start drinking their own blood and possibly the blood of other living creatures (autovampirism).
According the Noll, blood will sometimes take on a mystical significance such as a symbol of life and power. Ingesting blood is thought to be the experience of well-being.
Conventional psychiatry classifies clinical vampirism under schizophrenia or paraphilia. There have even been cases of clinical vampirism as a result with dissociative identity disorder (or multiple personality disorder) and post-traumatic stress disorder.