Love Addiction Does Exist And This Is How It Affects Us
Anyone who has ever been in love knows how high you can be when your partner reciprocates the feeling and how far down in the dumps when things with your significant other aren’t going well. A new study brings to light evidence that what you suspected all along is true: love addiction does exist.
The Two Kinds Of Love Addiction
A lot of research has been done on the physical and mental impact of love, but a study carried out by the Oxford University Center for Neuroethics and titled “Addicted to love: What is love addiction and when should it be treated?” seeks to shed light on the actual effects love has on our brains.
The study, which analyzed 64 previous studies on love and addiction that had been published between 1956 and 2016, concluded that – just like drugs – love can boost reward signals and bring a person euphoria when a romantic relationship is going well, and craving, obsessive behavior, and deep sadness when it ends. It also found that there are two kinds of “addiction-like” feelings when it comes to love: the “narrow” and the “broad” one.
The Narrow Kind
“The narrow view counts only the most extreme, harmful forms of love or love-related behaviors as being potentially addictive in nature,” wrote the researchers. Simply put, this is the type of love we consider harmful and uncontrollable since the person who’s feeling it is experiencing extremes: either extreme highs or extreme lows and not much in between.
The Broad Kind
On the other hand, the “broad view” may actually be more intense, but it causes cravings that are manageable. In this type of love, addictions fall into the category of simple “appetites”. They are needs that can be satisfied – at least temporarily – but they too can become urgent and distracting if the addict fails to fulfill them for long.
So, are there really similarities between a drug addict and a “love addict”? Brian Earp, the lead author of the study, and his colleagues concluded that substance dependency and love share more than we previously thought. With more and more research likening love addiction to drug abuse, it looks like those love drugs we’ve mentioned before might come to use sooner rather than later.