Lycanthropy Symptoms, causes, treatment, and real cases 2023

Lycanthropy” is a term utilized to describe a person who has the quality to shapeshift into a wolf or a wolf-human hybrid. This is usually the result of a curse, though some people may be born with the trait.

The human mind has the possibility of creating multiple scenarios in which it acquires different roles. Sometimes we think we have different types of personalities. We can also even believe that we are not people, but animals that have their own abilities. There are legends that talk about how a man can transform into an animal. Have you ever heard of the werewolf? Despite the fact that 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 Psychologorg article, we will provide you with information about clinical lycanthropy, its symptoms, causes, treatment, and real cases.


What is clinical lycanthropy?

First of all, let’s see what clinical lycanthropy means in psychology. Despite the fact that 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. As a result of this, the patient may believe that he becomes a wolf, a cat, a hyena, a tiger, a horse, a frog, a dog, a sheep, a cow, a wolf, a swine, a bee, a bird and even a snake, among others.

What do you call a person who believes they are an animal? In general, the term used is “transspecies”, and in the specific case of wolves, the term “lycanthrope” is used.

Currently, clinical lycanthropy could be considered a type of psychosis, that is, as a mental illness that affects people who present hallucinations and delusions.

Symptoms of clinical lycanthropy

How to 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 that he is a wolf, he can move on all fours, growl, and make similar sounds, among others.
  • In certain moments of lucidity, the patient may mention what a certain animal feels like. 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 service, since consultation with a professional is required to determine if it is a case of clinical lycanthropy.


Causes of clinical lycanthropy

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

neurological alterations

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

Historical and cultural facts

Clinical lycanthropy may also have its origin in certain rituals carried out in ancient times, such as the imitation of the behavior of wolves to obtain qualities that could improve survival. In other words, they wanted to have the fierceness and strength of wolves to survive. It is possible that people who present these characteristics look for ways to cope with situations of great stress and anxiety.

Expression of hidden ideas and emotions

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

Treatment of clinical lycanthropy

There are some treatments that can help people who have clinical lycanthropy. It is important that we know that the indication for treatment must be carried out by a health professional, since this will allow precise monitoring of the patient’s evolution at all times, taking into account the main characteristics. Treatments available for clinical lycanthropy are:


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


Therapy can help resolve situations that may have caused unpleasant feelings in the past. There are several types of psychotherapies such as short-term therapies, and psychoanalysis, among others. In the case of lycanthropy, therapy can help the person understand how hidden emotions manifest themselves when believing themselves to be 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 came to murder 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 term because the judges found that he really was a werewolf.

Today advances in medicine and psychology makes it possible to provide adequate treatment to people who suffer from this clinical picture.

This article is merely informative, at Psychologyorg we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend 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 Personality category.

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