Love is magical and intangible, and the feelings it elicits are unlike any other human emotion. It provides a natural high that makes us feel unstoppable.
Though love unites us, too much of it can get the best of you. What we sometimes fail to realize is that love can be dangerous, and if you aren’t careful it can consume you.
It’s these characteristics that make love addictive. According to Shauna Spring, PhD, passionate love's effect on brain chemistry is similar to that of an actual drug rush. “The cocaine-rush phase is an initial period of intense, highly pleasurable bonding based on the mutual fantasy that you and the other person are ideally matched and perfectly suited for each other,” Spring writes in Psychology Today.
This isn’t so surprising when you think about it. Like any addiction, you can become overly reliant on love, especially if you use it to fill a void or mask feelings of displeasure. And being in love can thrust us into another universe that hardly resembles our everyday reality.
Sound familiar? Here are some of the ways that love addiction can be as serious as any other kind of addiction.
It takes a lot to get by without it.
An addiction isn’t something you can simply quit one day.
Once you have felt the power you have with that dose, you don’t want to go back. Getting over a broken heart can be painful.
That’s why we have to treat love addiction with the same kind of care that we would any other substance.
Love increases your dopamine levels.
You know that feeling of butterflies when you first meet someone really splendid? You can’t get enough of the other person. You crave the scent of his skin, the touch of his hand and the sound of his laugh. He makes you feel high.
That is not so different from the high that certain drugs induce by increasing your levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In high enough doses, dopamine causes that wonderful feeling we get when rewarded, and it's also a key factor in motivational behaviors.
Those early stages of love also increase your dopamine levels, and with that increase come extreme feelings of euphoria — and maybe even hallucinations. So, the next time you feel dizzy and disoriented after a hot date, you’ll recognize that you actually are under the influence…of love.
Love is addictive.
When your dopamine levels are hyper-stimulated by a drug, you begin to damage their receptors. For the non-scientists among us, that means that you start to lose the ability to produce enough dopamine naturally. Attaining that same kind of euphoria becomes tied to that substance.
When you are head over heels for someone, being apart is torture. Nothing awakens your desires quite like love.
Your mind is continuously preoccupied, making it significantly more difficult to focus on anything else. You start losing sight of who you are and what your goals are. What can fill you with as much happiness as love?
With your dopamine levels out of sorts, you’re going to seek that high. Your body becomes dependent on the fix. When you don’t have that fix, you go into withdrawal. And what does that feel like?
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, common signs of withdrawal include aching, depression, anxiety and feelings of general hopelessness.
Don’t these symptoms sound eerily familiar to those of lovesickness? Sure, to love is in our very nature as human beings, but if you overindulge you may find yourself seriously hooked.
Moderation is key.
Love might feel amazing. But that doesn’t mean that more is necessarily better.
Like anything, moderation is key when it comes to love. Love, after all, is a fickle lady who has the power to suck you in.
You need control over love so that it doesn’t control you. And to do that you just have to put in the work.
Falling in love is all a part of being human, but the rush can be dangerous. Like love, magic is a drug that should be used with caution. CLICK HERE to catch up now on The Magicians and see why millions have been hooked.