This is the last of a series of questions I've posted about jealousy (see here, here, and here).

  • What pharmaceutical and therapeutic treatments, if any, have been developed for managing acute jealousy
  • How effective are these treatments?
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    $\begingroup$ No problem Skippy! Is there a tag you'd like me to add for you? I would have added more but tags are not my strongest area TBH. $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Aug 9, 2013 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ I've added some tags $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2013 at 23:53

1 Answer 1



Well, I can tell you there are no pharmaceutical treatments you can take that JUST help you manage "acute jealousy." Essentially, any drug you would take that may help wouldn't just target "jealousy." If there even is one that helps you to manage it it will have a global effect and probably be something like an SSRI, SNRI, amphetamine, some other drug that is probably going to end up making you feel worse in the long run.

Pharmaceutical wise, I really just found one study that referenced it at all and it's not very helpful. Scroll down though, the CBT part is very encouraging.

Because this is such a specific topic really the only thing I found in relation to pharmaceuticals and jealousy was...if you have parkinson's and you are taking dopamine agonists, you can get "delusional jealousy". So I'd avoid dopamine agonists...maybe? But you probably don't have parkinson's. It could be extrapolated to the general population to just say "hey, dopamine agonists may cause 'delusional jealousy'" but that's unlikely - and kind of useless information. MAYBE you could try a dopamine antagonist (antipsychotic) but those things SUCK so much - just trust me it's not worth it...in fact it's a stupid idea to bring up.

Mov Disord. 2012 Nov;27(13):1679-82. doi: 10.1002/mds.25129. Epub 2012 Nov 13.

Dopamine agonists and delusional jealousy in Parkinson's disease: a cross-sectional prevalence study.

Poletti M, Perugi G, Logi C, Romano A, Del Dotto P, Ceravolo R, Rossi G, Pepe P, Dell'Osso L, Bonuccelli U.

Department of Neuroscience, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

BACKGROUND: Delusional jealousy (DJ) has been described in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) on dopaminergic therapy, but a role for dopaminergic therapy in DJ has not been established. METHODS: The current cross-sectional study on DJ investigated its association with dopaminergic therapies compared with their associations with hallucinations and its prevalence in PD patients. Eight hundred five consecutive patients with PD were enrolled between January 2009 and June 2010. RESULTS: DJ was identified in 20 patients (2.48%) and hallucinations in 193 patients (23.98%). In the multivariate logistic regression analyses, dopamine agonists were significantly associated with DJ (odds ratio, 18.1; 95% CI, 3.0-infinity; P = .0002) but not with hallucinations (odds ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.49-1.10; P = .133). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that dopamine agonist treatment represents a risk factor for DJ in PD independent of the presence of a dementing disorder, and the presence of this additional nonmotor side effect should be investigated in this clinical population.

Copyright © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.

PMID: 23150469 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Now this was an interesting mini-study I came across along with a whole bunch of other results with the word "pathological jealousy."

J Clin Psychiatry. 1990 Aug;51(8):345-6. Successful fluoxetine treatment of pathologic jealousy. Lane RD. Source Department of Psychiatry, University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School, Ill. Abstract A 39-year-old man suddenly became convinced that his wife had once been unfaithful to him, and soon thereafter he became depressed. Symptoms of depression responded to imipramine, but the jealousy did not. A trial of fluoxetine was attempted because of the obsessional nature of the jealousy. Fluoxetine 60 mg/day resulted in complete remission of the pathologic jealousy, consistent with the known efficacy of fluoxetine in obsessive compulsive disorder. PMID: 2380161 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

However, once again, I'm sure that's not the only affect he experienced. THere were also a few hits with risperdone and primazone actually. They didn't even have abstracts tho.

Then we have the implication that it may be involved in OCD:

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1997 Feb;31(1):133-8.

Morbid jealousy as a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Parker G, Barrett E.

School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Randwick, Australia.

OBJECTIVE: To present a representative case vignette and review several previous reports, and to then suggest that a percentage of those with morbid jealousy may have a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). CLINICAL PICTURE: A patient presented volunteering a diagnosis of depression and anxiety following recent work and marital stresses, before describing recent jealousy and harassment of his wife over an earlier relationship. Obsessional thinking patterns and compulsive behaviours are described, and it is proposed that the picture supports a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. TREATMENT AND OUTCOME: The patient was treated as if he had an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and reported dissipation of his concerns after cognitive-behavioural intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The proposition is an important one as a diagnosis of morbid jealousy often invites therapeutic pessimism, and as managements effective for OCD (both drug and behavioural) may well be helpful.

PMID: 9088498 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Which ends with successful treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy as well as (they insinuate) some pharmaceutical treatment having to do with his OCD.

This leads me into my next section though:


In my opinion:

Jealousy is so specific that said person with jealousy is going to have to deal with it with something like CBT (although there are several medicines that >could help to treat it...you would probably agree with me that some of their side affects >arn't worth it if one were to try them, said jealous person also has to consider whether >or not their jealousy is "pathological") - not to sound like a broken record. There just isn't anything as proven out there. Said jealous person also needs to do things that expands their "options" which would be the ultimate cure - even if it's just meeting randoms on plenty of fish, there's not much to lose. In my opinion, it should be looked at as just gambling or like a slot machine. Otherwise, if said jealous person does not change any of their habits....the pattern of jealousy will continue.

Now I'm going to give you some (the very rare) CBT studies involving specifically jealousy. I don't have access to the full text of these, if you do - maybe you want to look into them more. If you generalize "jealousy" into "depression" then I don't even need to really cite all of the studies that show how much CBT works.

Br J Psychiatry. 1996 May;168(5):588-93.

The effectiveness of cognitive therapy in the treatment of non-psychotic morbid jealousy.

Dolan M, Bishay N.

Ashworth Hospital, Maghull, Liverpool.

BACKGROUND: Although a cognitive-behavioural formulation of morbid jealousy has been described there is little empirical research into the practical usefulness of this model. This study evaluated the effectiveness of treating non-psychotic morbid jealousy using a cognitive approach. METHOD: Cognitive-behavioural and emotional measures of jealousy were calibrated by comparison with 40 non-jealous normal controls. These instruments were used as measures of change to assess the effectiveness of cognitive therapy in altering cognitive errors in 30 morbidly jealous out-patient referrals, divided into delayed and immediate treatment subgroups to assess the stability of the condition. Both groups completed all measures immediately before and after treatment, and at follow-up. RESULTS: The instruments demonstrated significant differences between jealous and non-jealous subjects on cognitive-behavioural and emotional aspects of jealousy. The delayed treatment group showed no significant alteration in scores on any of the instruments after 12 weeks on the waiting list, confirming the stability of the condition. In the majority of cases cognitive therapy aimed at the modification of dysfunctional cognitive processes resulted in a significant improvement on all jealousy measures, immediately after treatment and at follow-up. The improvement reported by patients was supported by the partner's ratings. CONCLUSION: The results support the postulation of the cognitive model that modification of cognitive schema by a schema-focused treatment package results in a significant reduction in disturbance in all aspects of the jealousy syndrome.

PMID: 8733797 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Br J Psychiatry. 1989 Mar;154:386-9.

An uncontrolled study of cognitive therapy for morbid jealousy.

Bishay NR, Petersen N, Tarrier N.

North Manchester General Hospital, Crumpsall.

Thirteen patients presenting with morbid jealousy were treated using a cognitive approach adapted from Beck's cognitive therapy for depression. Cognitions in morbid jealousy showed the characteristics of automatic thoughts as described by Beck, and were based on faulty assumptions derived from interpretations of past experiences. The cognitive treatment directed mainly at the faulty assumptions resulted in improvements in TEN (10 out of 13!) patients and no change in one; two patients dropped out of treatment. The results are considered encouraging.

PMID: 2597841 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Once again if one were to just generalize the "jealousy" to depression, then click below. There's a wide variety of them.



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