Researches from the US National Library of Medicine reviewed 64 studies of love and addiction published over the last 60 years. They have put the ‘addiction’ into two categories, the first one being the “narrow view”:
This is where people who feel lonely when they’re single, and go straight from one relationship to the next, could have what the researchers call a “narrow” type of love addiction. This can be caused by abnormal processes in the brain that boost reward signals.
And then there’s the “broad” type of love addiction:
Love addiction is more like an appetite, where we seek out to satisfy a need. This category suggests that to love someone is literally to be addicted to them, though perhaps only weakly.
There is a complex neuroscience explanation for all this – which is reassuring in some ways, knowing that scientists aren’t just listening to 80s jams and thinking “you know what, this would be a GREAT research topic”.
The US NLM argues that brain regions and neurochemicals involved in addiction and romantic bonding are similar, and propose there are “many” similarities between everyday romantic attachment and addiction.
Their paper concludes:
“There is now abundant behavioural, neurochemical and neuroimaging evidence to support the claim that love is (or at least that it can be) an addiction, in much the same way that chronic drug-seeking behaviour can be termed an addiction.
People whose lives are negatively impacted by love ought to be offered support and treatment opportunities analogous to those that we extend to substance abusers.”
So there you have it. If you have ever wondered why you do stupid, embarrassing, painfully awkward things in front of people you are attracted to, don’t worry about it. You are an addict at the mercy of your neurochemicals. It’s not your fault your crush probably hates you.
Whilst writing and reading this, I haven’t been able to get Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ out of my head. Perhaps someone needs to research if you can be addicted to Addicted To Love?
This article also appears on TheSouthAfrican.com
TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay.com