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No. 53: Sep-Oct 1987

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Folie A Famille

In the psychological literature "folie a deux" is a common topic. It means that psychological illness can be contagious. We now find that the process can extend to whole families.

"Reports of folie a famille are rare; this may be the first reported case involving a Vietnam veteran. Expression of his paranoid schizophrenia involved delusions and hallucinations relating to Vietnam, and his wife and children shared his paranoia. Typical of follie a famille were the dominant family member, the threat of violence, and the family's social isolation, frequent crises, and stable membership."

(Glassman, Jaga Nath S., et al; "Folie a Famille: Shared Paranoid Disorder in a Vietnam Veteran and His Family," American Journal of Psychiatry, 144: 658, 1987.)

From Science Frontiers #53, SEP-OCT 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss