Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases

  • Sep 15, 2021
Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases

The human mind has the possibility of creating multiple scenarios in which he takes on different roles. Sometimes we think that we have different personality types. We can even believe that we are not people, but animals that have their own abilities. There are legends that speak about how a man can transform into an animal. Have you ever heard of the werewolf? Although the legend of the werewolf seems to be a fictional story, the truth is that it is a psychological disorder that can affect humans. Do you want to know more about this? In this Psychology-Online article, we will provide you with information about clinical lycanthropy, its symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases.

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  1. What is clinical lycanthropy
  2. Symptoms of clinical lycanthropy
  3. Causes of clinical lycanthropy
  4. Treatment of clinical lycanthropy
  5. Real cases of clinical lycanthropy

What is clinical lycanthropy.

First of all, let's see what clinical lycanthropy means in psychology. Although clinical lycanthropy is especially associated with the transformation of the person into a wolf, the truth is that it is also possible that there are other animals within this disorder. Following this,

the patient may believe that he turns into a wolf, a cat, a hyena, a tiger, a horse, a toad, a dog, a sheep, a cow, a wolf, a pig, a bee, a bird and even a snake, among others.

What do you call a person who thinks he is an animal? In general, the term used is "trans-species", and in the specific case of wolves, the term "lycanthrope" is used.

Currently, clinical lycanthropy could be considered as a type of psychosis, I mean, like a mental illness that affects people with hallucinations and delusions.

In the following article, you will find information about what is psychosis, its symptoms, causes and treatment.

Symptoms of clinical lycanthropy.

How do you know if you have lycanthropy? How does a person with clinical lycanthropy behave? Often, we can find some symptoms that appear in those people who suffer from this clinical picture. Next, we will describe the most important ones.

  • Have behaviors similar to those of the animal in which they believe they were transformed. For example, if the person thinks he is a wolf, he can move on all fours, growl, make similar sounds, among others.
  • In certain moments of lucidity, the patient may mention that he feels a certain animal. This does not mean that he is lying, but that he is convinced that he is an animal.

In the presence of these symptoms, it is important to go to a mental health service such as a hospital with a psychiatry and psychology since consultation with a professional is required to determine if it is a case of lycanthropy clinic.

Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases - Symptoms of clinical lycanthropy

Causes of clinical lycanthropy.

We could locate some factors that influence the emergence of this pathology. The way in which they develop will depend on the characteristics of each person as sex, age, medical history, predisposition to the development of organic diseases, family history, among others. We will describe the most relevant possible causes of clinical lycanthropy:

Neurological disorders

It has been studied that patients who reported feeling like animals had lesions in certain areas of the brain such as the brain, area responsible for sensory and motor perception. This results in damage to the somatosensory cortex, which implies that people with these disorders have a different understanding of their body, mind and environment.

Historical and cultural facts

Clinical lycanthropy can also have its origin in certain rituals performed in ancient times such as the imitation of the behaviors of wolves to obtain qualities that could improve the survival. In other words, they wanted to have the fierceness and strength of wolves to survive. People with these characteristics may look for ways to cope with situations of high stress and anxiety.

Expression of hidden ideas and emotions

Psychoanalysis looks for the origin of certain problems of the human being. From this perspective, the fact that the person feels an animal can be linked to a way of showing feelings of anger and aggression that are not shown in everyday life for being part of a society in which there are rules of coexistence.

Treatment of clinical lycanthropy.

There are some treatments that can help people with clinical lycanthropy. It is important that we know that the indication for treatment must be made by a health professional since this it will allow a precise follow-up of the evolution of the patient at all times taking into account the characteristics main. The treatments available for clinical lycanthropy are:


The supply of some psychiatric medication can be useful for this type of pictures. Generally, it is antipsychotic medications that reduce the symptoms that appear in lycanthropy since they act in the body blocking dopamine reception, a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for motor and emotional reactions. Some antipsychotics are Sulpiride and the Olanzapine. In the following article, you can see what is dopamine and what are its functions.


Therapy can help resolve situations that may have caused unpleasant sensations in the past. There are several types of psychotherapies such as short-term therapies, psychoanalysis, among others. In the case of lycanthropy, therapy can help so that the person understands how hidden emotions are manifested at the time of believing an animal.

Real cases of clinical lycanthropy.

There have been some real cases throughout history. However, the best known case is that of Manuel Blanco Rosamanta, better known as "The murderous Galician werewolf". Around 1870, this man killed thirteen people during his journeys through the forests of Galicia. However, when the final sentence was handed down for him, he was not given a jail sentence due to the fact that the judges considered that he really was a werewolf.

Today, advances in medicine and psychology make it possible to provide adequate treatment to people suffering from this clinical picture.

Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases - Real cases of clinical lycanthropy

Image: The Spanish

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases, we recommend that you enter our category of Personality.


  • Deutsch, H. (1968). Some forms of emotional disorder and their relationship with schizophrenia: analysis of the characters among themselves. Journal of psychoanalysis. Vol. 25 (2), 413-431.
  • Donnoli, F. D., Bátiz, M. P., Rodríguez, G. F. (2014). Lycanthropy delusion: body and identity. Alcmeon, Argentine Journal of Neuropsychiatric Clinic. Vol. 19 (1), 5-18.
  • Freud, S. (1922). The case of the painter Cristóbal Haitzmann (A demonic neurosis in the seventeenth century). New Library: Volume III

Clinical lycanthropy: symptoms, causes, treatment and real cases

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