All about Celebrity Worship Syndrome

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Having a crush on a famous personality is common! One typical trait of us is fangirling or fanboying over attractive actors, sports persons and actresses. But do we know there’s a distinction between admiration for someone and obsession with them? Experts claim that the latter could be a symptom of celebrity worship syndrome (CWS). Let’s learn more about it in depth.

What is it?

Worshipping a celebrity involves planning life around someone with whom the patient has never interacted with in a meaningful way.

There exist many wonderful people who are talented in athletics, creativity and innovation, which has rendered them the celebrity title.

It’s only natural to look up to someone who has achieved celebrity status for their accomplishments. One starts to follow their journey on social media and stalks them in all possible ways.

Suppose a celebrity is constantly on a person’s mind or feels like their identity depends on that of the celebrity. In that case, it is a sign that one is suffering from celebrity worship syndrome.

When adoration for a celebrity turns into an obsessive attraction and preoccupation, a parasocial connection known as celebrity worship syndrome develops.

Celebrity worship syndrome is a compulsive obsessional disease in which a person develops an excessive interest in the lives of celebrities. The sense of being overly devoted to a celebrity is extreme. The Celebrity Attitude Scale categorises this phenomenon into three levels—entertainment-social, intense-personal and borderline-pathological.

Entertainment-social type of CWS relates to a relatively low level of obsession and is the least problematic type.

An intermediate level of obsession known as intense-personal is associated with both neurotic and psychotic actions.

The last stage of celebrity worship is borderline pathology, which is the most extreme since it entails pathological attitudes and behaviours, including being willing to commit crimes on behalf of the celebrity or being eager to spend money on the products that the celebrity uses, among other things.


Mild celebrity obsession

People mostly do this for social entertainment. This is a mild kind of celebrity obsession, in which fans have a special affinity for or admiration for individual celebrities due to their remarkable traits, charisma, talents, looks, sex appeal, success, fame or ability to captivate attention. 

Affected individuals might always talk about the celebrities, follow them on social media, watch their television shows or keep up with news on their activities and personal life. Other manifestations of their obsession may include mimicking or imitating their behaviours, dressing types, etc. 

Young children and teenagers are most prone to this type of celebrity addiction since they are susceptible and frequently go through a self-discovery journey. Celebrities could play to their rebellious nature or give them the feeling that they are trendsetters. 

One major motivating factor is thought to be extroversion. Although the addiction might not significantly disrupt their daily lives, it might send them on an emotional roller coaster and give their parents, friends, relatives and peers a few problems.

For certain people, it could set off bad eating habits, low self-esteem, body image problems, etc. We all have our favourite people, but most of the time, our admiration doesn’t turn into an obsession. 

Even so, it is only temporary. Most people outgrow it as they mature, their circumstances change, and they form new relationships and hobbies. A few people don’t progress and continue with their obsessive behaviour.

Intermediate level 

Due to neurotic and pathological obsession, what starts as mild admiration in certain people may develop into more severe and profoundly personal celebrity worship, where they feel connected to their favourite celebrities and believe they are in connection with them. 

They might believe celebrities they can’t stop fantasising or thinking about are their soul mates. Strong ego-identification or absorption, as well as other psychological elements, may be the cause of their obsessive and compulsive thoughts about themselves.

Another significant psychological condition that is present in those who are prone to celebrity obsession is disassociation. Due to their illogical reasoning, people lose touch with their own emotions, issues and realities and instead have a vicariously oneness-with-celebrity experience, taking on board all of the celebrities’ pleasures, sufferings, failures and accomplishments. 

As a result, they could occasionally imagine or fantasise about celebrities. To feel even more of an affinity for the celebrity, some people would get cosmetic surgery, modify their lifestyle or modify their way of dressing.

Extreme celebrity obsession

Often referred to as borderline-pathological celebrity infatuation, this type involves the fans feeling immense love and allegiance to the celebrities and may go to considerable efforts to reaffirm those feelings. Both their deluded thoughts and actions exhibit their socio-pathological attitude. 

Some people could preserve a collection of goods and mementoes that are connected to or utilised by celebrities. Some people might exhibit their willingness to suffer personally to show their commitment or to confess their love and addiction. Few people may develop psychosis and engage in crimes like stalking.

Extreme celebrity obsession appears more often to be a symptom than a root cause of mental illness. Suppose they grow a particular affection for them and fantasise about falling in love with them. In that case, those who are already vulnerable to schizophrenia, paranoia, depression or bipolar illness may become excessively obsessed with celebrities. 

In their delusional and hallucinogenic states, they may think they are in coded conversation with the celebrity. Worshipping or becoming obsessed with famous people is always one-sided. 

While admirers of celebrities only seem to get a little ego pleasure or entertainment, celebrities benefit from their fan bases since it increases their popularity and financial success. Additionally, the connection is unsatisfying and unequal. Since the relationship with the celebrity is imaginary, it can be seen as a delusion or illusion in many respects. As a result, it will eventually create disappointment and break their heart.


The root cause of celebrity worship syndrome remains unknown. Certain mental health disorders may contribute to the development of celebrity worship as an illness with obsessive-addictive characteristics.

Daydreaming about celebrities, a strong desire for fame and compulsive habits like obsessive internet use are some factors that may enhance the risk of developing celebrity worship syndrome.

Those who live with CWS may be more likely to exhibit inclinations toward idolising celebrities.

  • Anxious-ambivalent personality
  • Neuroticism
  • Materialism
  • Psychoticism
  • Live in a fantasy world
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Minimal religious outlook
  • Narcissism
  • Rigidity of the mind (being uncompromising on beliefs)
  • Inadequate interpersonal relationships
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Illnesses and behaviours related to obsessive-compulsiveness
  • Dissociation
  • Addiction issues 

Signs that it turns into an obsession

It is normal to see a movie starring our favourite actor or actress, read a little about them, and then move on with life. When it starts to interfere with the social, professional and personal life, it becomes an obsession. Signs of Celebrity worship syndrome are,

  • Stalking that person on social media and searching for them online all the time.
  • Trying to find out where the celebrity is.
  • Compelled to learn more about them.
  • Either the patient realises it, or someone close to them informs that their life has begun to revolve around that celebrity.
  • Losing oneself in that celebrity’s thoughts and becoming submerged in them.

Risk factors for CWS

Although getting starstruck is normal, some people are more vulnerable to developing celebrity worship syndrome. Such people are,

  • Those who are obsessive by nature.
  • Some have personality problems that make them more prone to CWS.
  • Those who are unable to maintain a strict boundary between themselves and others.
  • Those with underlying issues such as anxiety and depression and CWS often tend to aggravate those underlying issues.
  • Those who go to the extent of changing their looks to look like their favourite celeb could have body dysmorphia, in which they think they don’t look good enough.

Mental health

Numerous studies have linked celebrity worship to poor mental health and maladaptive behaviours. However, it is unclear if mental health problems originate before celebrity worship or whether it is the cause of mental health problems. 

Nevertheless, a review of the data on celebrity worship revealed some causes for concern regarding its adherents.

Neuroticism and psychoticism are highly linked with the intensity of celebrity worship, and both levels are associated with a propensity for poor mental health.

Idolising famous people is linked to mental health issues, including sadness and anxiety, as well as a crack in close relationships. Celebrity worship has been linked to obsessive-compulsive behaviours at the intense-personal and borderline-pathological levels.


Celebrity worship syndrome can have an effect on an individual’s daily life.


Relationships might suffer as a result of the pressures of celebrity worship, including intimate, familial, friendship and professional relationships.

People preferring online celebrity-focused content like live streaming or status updates could forego attending real-world social gatherings. It’s possible to incorrectly judge the love partners based on their supposed celebrity ties.

Personal satisfaction

Celebrity worship has a negative impact on others around the patient, but it may also be quite detrimental to their personal health.

Celebrity worship may be a symptom of addictive or obsessive illnesses, leading a person to engage in negative celebrity-related activities like harassment.

One can undergo pointless medical procedures or abrasive treatments in an effort to resemble their idolised star.

With poor self-esteem, people might always make comparisons to their favourite star. If they don’t live up to the so-called standard, the patient might be too harsh on themselves. They are also likely to follow celebrity endorsements.

As a result of purchases associated with celebrity worship, one can experience financial hardship.


Several studies have shown that people who show a lot of celebrity worship are more likely to experience significant psychological problems. Therefore, obtaining therapy is the best approach to deal with this condition.

To determine whether a person is experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, the first step is to speak with a mental health expert. Treatments may be started in accordance with the diagnosis and the severity of the problem. One can be given a prescription that includes both medication and counselling.

People rarely seek assistance because CWS seems to be the norm in most circumstances.

Preventive tips

Being inundated with celebrity news is frequent in the modern era of nonstop news and ubiquitous social media. Limiting exposure to such things helps avoid developing CMS. Keeping this in mind, extremes are never good. 

Therefore, focus less on other people’s lives since one’s own life is more important, engage in social activities rather than avoiding them, and avoid engaging in addictive activities. 

Yoga and meditation can help an individual live a healthy lifestyle. Get plenty of rest and concentrate on the diet. And on finding oneself in trouble, seeking assistance from others or professionals is the best option.


It’s normal to admire individuals around us, particularly those who have achieved fame. These people frequently possess a quality that appeals to us and captures our interest.

However, the celebrity worship syndrome can often go beyond simple admiration and involve compulsive and addictive behaviour.

Speaking with a mental health care provider can be beneficial when someone we know or a loved one engages in negative celebrity worship practices.


How do we overcome celebrity worship syndrome?

Overcoming obsessions can involve distracting from things that remind us of them. Diverting the thoughts and spending more time on other activities and hobbies. Also, taking a break from social media will be extremely beneficial to overcome the obsession. 

What does celebrity worship look like?

Undergoing plastic surgery, stalking, harassment and following their lifestyle are characteristics of celebrity worship syndrome.

Is celebrity worship a mental illness?

Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS) is an obsessive addiction disorder which can lead to mental illness. Sometimes, individuals with a mental illness may acquire celebrity worship syndrome.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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