Leonard Cohen Fan Diagnosis Unveiled: Cohenphilic Personality Disorder


Leonard Cohen Fan Disorder Nosology Established

Employing the skills garnered in 30+ years of psychiatric practice and working through the auspices of Doctors Without Boundaries, I have, observed, recorded, and cataloged the characteristic symptomatology of Leonard Cohen fans to establish clinical diagnostic criteria among the affected population.

While the amount of raw data generated by the study will require years of extensive analysis to glean its full potential, I have already been able to derive one diagnostic classification and sufficient indication of enough other possible designations to warrant setting aside at least one full volume of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) Supplement to be dedicated exclusively to Leonard Cohen Fan Disorders.1

The description of the relevant Axis II personality disorder follows:

301.LC Cohenphilic Personality Disorder

A pervasive and intense admiration of, fascination with, and, in females, lust for Leonard Cohen such that all other life issues are adjudged by and interpreted within the context of his performances and his creative output, including music, poetry, prose, and drawings, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

  • Has a Cohen Concert-Distance Index score (total miles traveled to attend Leonard Cohen concerts, calibrated in US miles) equal to or greater than 500 OR a Cohen Concert-Cost Index score (total expenditures, calibrated in inflation-adjusted US dollars, attributable solely to to attending Leonard Cohen concerts, including concert tickets, travel, lodging, etc.) equal to or greater than 5000.
  • Is preoccupied with Cohen-centric questions (e.g., What would Leonard Cohen do? What brand hat does Leonard Cohen wear? Who were Leonard Cohen’s backup singers on the 1980 tour?).
  • Visits LeonardCohenForum 20 or more times weekly over a period of three consecutive months Or has posted 500 or more items on LeonardCohenForum.
  • Demonstrates incapacity to comprehend or even believe that others do not share his or her enjoyment of Cohen’s music.
  • Overcomes officious ushers, uncomfortable venues, torrential rains, and TicketMaster to attend Leonard Cohen concerts.
  • Purchases and hoards paraphernalia associated with Leonard Cohen (e.g., CDs, LPs, and books by Cohen; photos of Cohen, autographs, concert merchandise such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, signet rings, … ).
  • Can name woman who was inspiration for “Chelsea Hotel #2,” Cohen’s children, poet who was greatest influence on Cohen, and the two titles used to designate the blues song first played at the Rosemont show October 29, 2009.

Presumptive Symptomatology

A presumptive diagnosis of Cohenphilic Personality Disorder Subjects is made if a subject displays one or more permanent tattoos featuring a quote from Leonard Cohen or a symbol associated with Cohen (e.g., Unified Heart). Not to be confused with Leonard Cohen Tramp Stamp Equivalent Exhibitionism, the display, on the subject’s clothing, of the Unified Heart or other Cohen references in the lower back location conventionally associated with generic tramp stamps.

Moderately more prevalent in females although this may be an artifact of gender-specific symptomatology (e.g., women tend to proclaim their love for Cohen while men typically sublimate their admiration into useful societal functions, such as flying overseas to shoot concert videos, raising money for commemorative plaques at ancient New York hotels, or blogging). Onset may be at any point following puberty. Many of those afflicted are able to maintain apparently normal lives, limiting overt displays of symptoms to private moments and concerts.

Early Symptoms: An extensive but not exhaustive listing of specific warning signs of Leonard Cohen Fan Syndrome can be found at You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If …

To qualify for a subtype diagnosis, a subject must present with one of the following secondary syndromes in addition to meeting criteria for Cohenphilic Personality Disorder:

  • Cohenphilic Personality Disorder with Pseudo-Tourette Syndrome: Shouts exclamations during Leonard Cohen concerts. Originally thought to be meaningless, random utterances, these phrases, on analysis, prove to be responses triggered by Cohen’s lyrics (e.g., from women: “and I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on” – “Oh yes you are!” and “I’m your man” – “Damn straight”) or observations directed at Leonard Cohen (e.g., from women: “I love you, Leonard.” from men: “You da man”). Not to be confused with Cohen Sing-along Syndrome, the more benign compulsion to sing songs simultaneously being performed by Leonard Cohen (especially prevalent among Irish audiences who come into contact with a performance of “So Long Marianne”).
  • Cohenphilic Personality Disorder, Noonanistic Subtype: Is habituated to viewing videos of Leonard Cohen performances taken by Albert Noonan.
  • Cohenphilic Personality Disorder with Stage Prop Fetish: Causes or conspires to cause items associated with specific Cohen songs to be hurled, flung, launched, laid, or otherwise placed on stage while Leonard Cohen is singing the referenced song (e.g., throwing polka-dot blouses on stage during performance of “Closing Time” because of its lyrics, “Yeah the women tear their blouses off/and the men they dance on the polka-dots”).
  • Cohenphilic Personality Disorder with Spectorphobic Exclusionary Modification: Maintains delusional belief, in the face of evidence obvious even to other Cohen fans, that the Death Of A Ladies’ Man album is irrevocably contaminated by Phil Spector’s participation in its creation.
  • Cohenphilic Personality Disorder, Sharon Robinson Infatuation Variant: Falls in love with Sharon Robinson after meeting both Leonard Cohen and Ms Robinson in person.

Enlightened soulfulness

There ain’t no cure for love. The disorder is chronic and life-long. Palliative care consists of perpetual playing of Cohen’s music and attendance at his concerts.

Note: This entry was originally posted Nov 18, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, the predecessor of Cohencentric. It has been modestly edited (primarily to eliminate apparent anachronisms) for this republication.


  1. On a humanitarian note, the official establishment of these diagnoses will, one hopes, be the first step in obtaining health insurance coverage for the costs of concerts, music recordings, and special events required to maintain these patients and allow them to live full, functional lives. []

7 Replies to “Leonard Cohen Fan Diagnosis Unveiled: Cohenphilic Personality Disorder”

  1. Dar

    I read this as “Cohenphallic…” Things are gonna slide DrH! (You should have hired me to write you a grant app for this study. Can never have enough funds for research!)

  2. sally

    I am crazy!!!!!!!!!! But that’s why I want to be here…..Reminds me of taking Phych in university, where each new page of text, was a disorder I thought I had.

  3. Naomi M. Siemens

    If only Social Work was so exciting when I attended Ohio State!!!!
    What Freud could have done with this!!!!

    Still slavering for my Signet Ring in BF Pennsylvania….

  4. CinCin

    So glad to hear we might get health insurance coverage – is that part of the new plan? Will it cover CD/DVD purchases, or just direct concert attendance?

  5. st theresa

    great work dr H. The removal of several old diagnoses will permit room for this one and like most of the old diagnoses, I am narrowly escaping this one due to lack of funding to travel to concerts.
    I will look forward to further reports on the statistics garnered from your research.

  6. Imaginary Friend

    Yikes! On top of possessing (being possessed by?) most of the symptoms, I seem to have further complications: Leonard Cohen is my imaginary friend. ♥

  7. Stamatina

    Yep, I’m mentally ill. And now I can proudly say it out loud!

    Ya know, I had read in a book that love is an illness which slowly kills you and makes you beautiful and when you think you’ve finally died, then it’s gone and you’re alive, but just very ugly.
    So, the best thing about being in love with Leonard is that you never stop being in love with Leonard, so you’re always pretty. ;p Works better than facelift of what I know! xD