Pop music does not hint, but claims that love is not just a feeling, but a dangerous addiction, a drug and an unhealthy obsession. And what do scientists think about this? It turns out that they completely agree.
A meta-analysis of studies on neurochemical elements of love, conducted at the University of Oxford, allowed us to say that love can (and should) be diagnosed as a real addiction. And one day, researchers are sure, it will be the same clinical case as smoking or alcoholism.
Love as a drug: two views on the problem
“The superficial similarities between love as an interpersonal attachment based on sex and the use of narcotic substances are so numerous that they are difficult to ignore,” write the study authors in the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology. “This is excitement, and ecstasy, and a constant craving for repetition, irregular physiological responses and obsessive patterns of thinking.” This, according to scientists, leads to the fact that more and more researchers are beginning to assert that both types of phenomena can rely on similar or in general the same psychological, chemical and neuroanatomical substrates.
However, scientists are still arguing about what forms of romantic love should be considered addiction. Although it is well known that falling in love causes biochemical reactions characteristic of other forms of dependence, there are at least two scientific views on the addictive nature of love. In the first case it is considered that only the most extreme, harmful forms of love can cause unhealthy habituation. In the second case, it is assumed that any form of love will be a dependency in a neurochemical sense, another thing is that in light forms this will not be a problem.
Scientists from the first “camp” also believe that dependence on love deprives a person of the opportunity to build healthy relationships and causes negative consequences for both the lover and others. In this case, love threatens physical and mental health, because people, trying to get rid of obsessive thoughts, commit rather risky and generally uncharacteristic things.
“This is a narrow view of love as a dependency that pays attention only to extreme and radical brain processes, behavioral attachment and manifestations that indicate dependence. But, we are justified, this happens quite rarely, “- write the researchers love from Oxford.
Here, scientists from the second “camp,” who argue that love addiction is “reinforced by similar neurochemical processes,” peculiar to people dependent on drugs, alcohol or tobacco, come into play. From this point of view, each addictive experience is associated with the production of dopamine and serotonin – hormones that affect the brain areas associated with learning and reward. In other words, a drug addict and a lover have much more in common than one might imagine.
Interestingly, some people argue that the experience of love dependence can be even more powerful than a drug. But such assessments, of course, are always subjective.
When they come up with love pills?
If we imagine that someday we will use biotechnology to “cure” of love, then a narrow and broad view of the problem of dependence can be very useful here, writes Inverse. And although now pills from love seem to us something like science fiction, they can very well become a reality for our descendants. If only because the scientists, among other things, have already discovered that androgen blockers and antidepressants can be useful in terms of reducing the sexual drive, which is an important part of romantic love. But this is a completely different story.