Sunday, 20 December 2009

Dr Angus Thomson, De Clerembault Syndrome and Involuntary Orgasms

Recently, we read about Dr Angus Thomson's ordeal at the hands of his patient who made various allegations of sexual harassment including that he gave her leg buckling orgasms during gynaecological examination. She clearly was not diagnosed with a rare psychiatric syndrome described for the first time by the brilliant French forensic psychiatrist Gaetan Gatian De Clerembault.

At medical schools they thought us not to bother about rare medical syndromes and to concentrate on common causes of diseases. I remember not being able to resist reading Rare Psychiatric syndromes as a trainee psychiatrist. It is difficult to forget erotomania which is what De Clerembault syndrome is. There are several causes of De Clerembault Syndrome: bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, epilepsy, right frontal lobe lesions and even Alzheimers disease can cause it. Treatment is for the associated disorder. For example, there a case or erotomania caused by bipolar disorder which was treated successfully by Lithium salt.

Dr Thomson's patient described involuntary orgasms and was described as oversexed in the press. Some time ago, I read an article in The British Journal of Psychiatry about involuntary orgasms caused by a very rare form of epilepsy. I wondered if Dr Thomson's patient had something like that.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Dr Thomson as I suffered for years at the hands of an ex-patient of mine who terrified me at times. She once tried to set fire to a psychiatric ward with twenty eight in-patients. At other times she would pretend that she was a doctor, a GP, who was in the process of referring a private patient to me and hospitals gave her my private telephone numbers. She was very plausible as a doctor and spoke with an upper class English accent. Three times I had to change my telephone numbers. Not very convenient at all having then to inform everyone about the change. For years I received unwanted presents from her which I would return to the hospital where she was hospitalized under care of a different psychiatrist. I complained many times to the hospital management about unwanted mail and would collect a bunch and send it to the Chief Executive there.
Harassment stopped when I said I was going to sue the hospital for not using their powers under Mental Health Act 1983 to stop her from sending me the post.

Dr Thomson and his family have been going through the hell of harassment, legal proceedings and will not forget it for a while. Patients who have De Clerembault Syndrome are convinced that a person of a higher social standing is in love with them. Sometimes they are dangerous. Less often they attempt suicide. For the victim of their delusions there is a long path to safety and I do not think one ever forgets the ordeal.


Anonymous said...

Why does a doctors' name have to be publisized before he is found guilty. This does not happen on the continent of europe - or do we in UK think our laws are so superior?

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