Although it isn`t known yet in all the countries, clinical vampirism or the Renfield syndrome is a mental disease associated with the desire to drink blood and it almost always has a strong sexual component associated with it.
The name was given in 1992 by Richard Noll after Dracula`s assistant from Bram Stoker`s novel.
The character was a patient in Seward`s sanatory and he suffered from delusions that convinced him that by accumulating as many lives as possible he would become stronger. His illness progresses and he comes to believe that by feeding an animal smaller ones and then eating them he would get more energy.
example: When he catches a spider he first feeds it some flies [growing it] and then he eats it.
The ill are usually men that are sure that in the process of consuming blood there is also an exchange of energy involved.
Noll adds a stressor factor in the early childhood that sets a start to the disease. Commonly an accident or simply an injury that involved a lot of blood. The blood flux is a motif for curiosity in the patient’s case. After reaching puberty the sight of blood flowing excites the ill and all of them describe an acute illusion of control that they have on the victim [animal or man].
Noll found 3 significant stages in the evolution of the disease.
Autovampirism is generally developed first, usually in childhood, by initially self-inducing scrapes or cuts in the skin to produce blood, which is then ingested, to later learning how to open major blood vessels [veins, arteries] in order to drink a steady stream of warm blood more directly. The blood may then be ingested at the time of the opening, or may be saved in jars or other containers for later imbibing or for other reasons. Masturbation often accompanies autovampiristic practices.
Zoophagia [literally the eating of living creatures, but more specifically the drinking of their blood] may develop prior to autovampirism in some cases, but usually is the next to develop. Persons with Renfield’s syndrome may themselves catch and eat or drink the blood of living creatures such as insects, cats, dogs, or birds. The blood of other species may be obtained at places such as slaughter houses and then ingested. Sexual activity may or may not accompany these functions
Vampirism in its true form is the next stage to develop – procuring and drinking the blood of living human beings. This may be done by stealing blood from hospitals, laboratories, and so forth, or by attempting to drink the blood directly from others. Usually this involves some sort of consensual sexual activity, but in lust-murder type cases and in other nonlethal violent crimes, the sexual activity and vampirism may not be consensual.
Very few cases of the syndrome have been described, and the published reports that do exist refer to what has been proposed as Renfield’s syndrome through the use of official psychiatric diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia or as a variety of paraphilia. A number of murderers have performed seemingly vampiric rituals upon their victims. Serial killers Peter Kürten and Richard Trenton Chase were both called “vampires” in the tabloids after they were discovered drinking the blood of the people they murdered.
Because the sangvinal vampire community has started to surface into the eye of the society many fear that the members actually suffer from this disease and that getting blood from donors might not be enough at one point because they no longer have the illusion of control over the victim.
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