Auto-vampirism is a form of vampirism that refers to drinking one's own blood, typically as a form of sexual gratification.[2] As a mental disorder, this is also called as autohemophagia, which is derived from three Greek words: auto, which means "self"; hemo, for "blood"; and, phag, meaning "to eat".[3] Although closely related to vampirism, the two differ in that vampirism is a sadistic act while auto-vampirism is on the side of masochism.[4] Along with drinking their own blood, most practitioners of auto-vampirism also engage in self-harm in order to obtain the blood.[5]

Self harm.png
SymptomsSuturing, opening of wounds; self-harm
Usual onsetPuberty[1]
CausesUsually after traumatic incident


Auto-vampirism is considered a pathology of vampiristic behavior or "clinical vampirism",[6] which also includes any violent or sexual act done to or in the presence of the body of a dead being, not drinking the blood of a living human. Clinical psychologist Richard Noll introduced this term and was coined after the mental patient who assisted Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel.[6] Auto-vampirism is typically the first stage of clinical vampirism, or more commonly known as Renfield's Syndrome.[4] It is, however, not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR 2000).[7]


The habit of drinking ones own blood usually begins during childhood, most commonly as a result of a traumatic event that results in a person linking pleasure with violence and more specifically blood.[8] It develops by first scraping or cutting one's own skin to extract and ingest blood, later resulting in learning where and how to cut and open major veins and arteries for larger amounts of blood.[9] Sometimes, they will also store their own blood for later consumption or just because they like to look at it. Eventually, auto-vampirism develops into clinical vampirism.[10] According to clinical psychologist Noll, this process includes three stages: autovampirism, zoophagia (the progressive paraphilic stage[11] that involves eating of animals or drinking of animals' blood), and clinical or true vampirism.[2]

As the child goes through puberty, they begin to link sexuality to the pleasure that is already derived from vampirism. There is also usually a sense that seeing or drinking their blood gives them power or increased health, as in general vampirism. At this point, it is considered fetishistic.

There are cases where vampirism and auto-vampirism are one of many symptoms of schizophrenia.[12] This was illustrated in the case of a 35- year old woman with schizophrenia who experienced severe depersonalization and auditory hallucinations that commanded her to drink her own blood. Auto-vampirism, for her, was part of a delusion about a purification process.[13]

Auto-vampirism can cause anemia, abdominal pain, nausea, and more. It's difficult to determine all the consequences of auto-vampirism due to the difficulty of finding people who drink their own blood.[14] It is noted that the pathologies that are associated with vampirism is exceedingly rare.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hickey, Eric W. (2016). Serial Murderers and Their Victims. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. p. 380. ISBN 9781305261693.
  2. ^ a b Aggrawal, Anil (2008). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 371. ISBN 9781420043082.
  3. ^ Kelly, Evelyn (2016). The 101 Most Unusual Diseases and Disorders. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 107. ISBN 9781610696753.
  4. ^ a b Bourguignon, A (February 1977). "[Status of vampirism and autovampirism]". Annales Medico-psychologiques. 1 (2): 181–96. ISSN 0003-4487. PMID 883741.
  5. ^ McCully, R. S. (1964). Vampirism: Historical perspective and underlying process in relation to a case of auto-vampirism. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 139, 440–451.
  6. ^ a b c Laycock, Joseph (2009). Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism. Wesport, CT: Praeger. p. 24. ISBN 9780313364723.
  7. ^ Oppawasky, Jolene (2010-12-22). "Vampirism: clinical vampirism--Renfield's syndrome". Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association. 13 (4). Archived from the original on 2018-12-18. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  8. ^ "Vampirism" (PDF). Forensic Psychology. 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Olry, Régis; Haines, Duane E. (October 2011). "Renfield's Syndrome: A Psychiatric Illness Drawn from Bram Stoker'sDracula". Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. 20 (4): 368–371. doi:10.1080/0964704x.2011.595655. ISSN 0964-704X. PMID 22003862.
  10. ^ "Vampire Killers - murderers who were inspired by a lust for blood - The Crime library". 2007-12-18. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  11. ^ Hickey, Eric W. (2016). Serial Murderers and Their Victims. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. p. 380. ISBN 9781305261693.
  12. ^ Laycock, Joseph (2009). Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism. Westport, CT: Praeger. p. 24. ISBN 9780313364723.
  13. ^ Jensen, Hans Mørch; Poulsen, Henrik Day (January 2002). "Auto-vampirism in schizophrenia". Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. 56 (1): 47–48. doi:10.1080/08039480252803918. ISSN 0803-9488. PMID 11869465.
  14. ^ Jali, H M (October 1989). "Tuberculous Anal Ulcer". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 82 (10): 629–630. doi:10.1177/014107688908201026. ISSN 0141-0768. PMC 1292348. PMID 2810303.