By the time she married at 37, she’d become increasingly dependent on psychics. Grall-Bronnec writes:
She repeatedly returned to fortune telling to reassure herself about the future of her relationship, and increasingly so as it deteriorated. The breakup worsened the disorder. Since her divorce, she consults fortune tellers – not always the same person – on the phone or online, in a compulsive way, more and more often (up to every day), for longer and longer periods of time (up to 8 hours a day) and spends each time more and more money (up to 200 euros per session). As she is never satisfied with the fortune tellers’ predictions, she will consult again very soon after the latest call or connection.
Helen later said that during her reading, she’s convinced that this person can truly see her future — and yet directly afterwards, she says she knows she’s being irrational. Still, that doesn’t stop her from seeking out yet another psychic.
The Diagnosis: Helen sought out help of her own volition, suggesting that she was unhappy with the hold her dependence on fortune telling had over her life. The psychiatric team she met with had never seen a case quite like hers, but after ruling out both obsessive compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, they found that her actions matched the criteria for behavioral addictions more commonly associated with things like alcohol or gambling. Her time spent speaking with fortune tellers, for example, had become “the most important activity” in her life, and even when she wasn’t talking to a psychic, she was thinking about it. Over the years, she’d made multiple attempts to curb or quit the habit altogether, but she never succeeded. And like other forms of addiction, it was as if she had built up a tolerance to having her fortune read, in that she ended up needing more and more of it to feel satisfied.
Apart from the diagnosis of a “fortune-telling addiction,” however, the case report ends on a vague note, without specifically divulging what happened to Helen, or if she’s been helped by the psychiatric care. Perhaps some fortune teller out there might know?
By Melissa Dahl
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