Addicted to love
There are those who cannot "unhook" from the sensation associated with falling in love.
Nowadays there is a lot of talk about non-toxic addictions, i.e. addictions that do not involve substances such as alcohol, cannabis or cocaine; also known as behavioral addictions.
Some examples of these are: addiction to gambling, shopping, sex, pornography, social networks or the internet. Today I am going to talk to you about another of these addictions, one that is hardly known, although many of you will quickly identify with it, today we will talk about the addiction to love or, better said, to the addiction to falling in love.
An infatuation that "hooks" you
We are not talking about something romantic, nor about poetry, we are talking about an addiction, and therefore about chemistry and changes in the brain. When someone falls in love they experience a very peculiar sensation, a pleasure so intense that we will not find anything else in life that can be compared.. The colors are brighter, the air is fresher, the people are nicer, everything is much more pleasant; the problems disappear and optimism and happiness are lavished in torrents. Drunk with love! How beautiful! Only this is over, it doesn't last forever.
That's how we all understand it, and that's how we all live it. Well, not everyone. Some people don't accept the downturn that comes soon after and seek a perpetual state of infatuation.. The brain becomes obsessed with those first states of love, just as a heroin addict becomes obsessed with heroin or an alcoholic with alcohol. We are talking about an addiction, because no matter what the stimulus is, it is a matter of chemistry.
In the brain in love, the levels of some neurochemicals also called neurotransmitters increase, such as dopamine, related to reward circuits and pleasure; noradrenaline, responsible for the feeling of euphoria or excitement and serotonin, which acts on emotions and mood and is responsible for the feeling of happiness.
These changes in brain chemistry are very similar to those felt when we consume drugs, for example, cocaine, cocaine, cocaine and cocaine-like stimulants.For example, cocaine, what it does is block the receptors that eliminate these neurotransmitters once they have been used, thus increasing the levels and provoking that feeling of euphoria and pleasure.
All drugs alter, in one way or another, these levels in the brain, each with its own mechanisms. In behavioral addictions, it is the behavior itself that causes the production of these neurotransmitters to be stimulated, thus increasing the levels.
The low after falling in love
The brain, with time, returns to normal levels of these love chemicals, stabilizes and stabilizes.It stabilizes, just as drugs do when taken over a long period of time. Some people interpret this as the loss of love, when in fact what has happened is that the neuronal receptors have become accustomed to this excess of neurochemicals.
The immense feeling of pleasure disappears. This process is known as habituation or toleranceThe brain is somehow less sensitive to the effects of drugs or, in this case, of behaviors that change the chemical balance of the brain.
Then the addict needs to increase the dose to continue feeling that sensation of pleasure, he anxiously seeks to recover the state of intoxication he had and for this he embarks on dangerous, conflictive, hurtful relationships, with fights and reconciliations, jealousy, deceit, infidelity.
He sabotages the relationships that work at the moment when the high of infatuation starts to go down and accuses the other of all the problems. Also may be constantly changing partners, jumping from one idyll to another, in order to keep alive the feeling of novelty.. Some may establish several relationships at the same time, in a stormy intrigue of infidelities, deceit and lies. Anything to maintain that emotional high, so that the flow of chemicals does not cease.
Some readers may confuse this addiction with emotional dependence or sex addiction. In the former, an exaggerated affective bonding is the most characteristic sign, and in the latter what we find is precisely the opposite, that is, an affective disinterest. In love addiction the affective bonding is strong at the beginning and deteriorates when the novelty ends.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)