Are you addicted to love?

26 July 2010


Swing from one fling to the next? Can’t shake your ex? Have ‘break-up’ brain where ALL you can think about is him? Relationship cold turkey is never easy - and now there’s scientific evidence to prove it. Might as well face it ladies – according to these findings - you really can be addicted to love.

Researchers at Stony Brook University studied the brain activity of fifteen recent dumpees and found that recovering from a break-up is like a kicking an addiction to drugs.

During the study the recently-jilted participants were shown a photograph of their lost love (torturous or what) and asked to perform a simple mathematic equation. They were then shown a picture of a stranger and asked the recalculate the maths. The results showed that brain activity spiked when they looked at their object of unrequited desire.

An identical study, carried out at Rutgers University, earlier this month backed up these findings. Again, all the participants had been dumped less then two months ago and were –under their own admission – still nursing a broken heart. When reminded of their ex-partner the areas of the brain which were stimulated, were those usually associated with cocaine and nicotine addiction.

‘Romantic love is an addiction,’ said Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of the study. ‘My guess is that our modern addictions - nicotine, drugs, sex, gambling - are simply hijacking this ancient brain pathway that evolved millions of years ago, that evolved for romantic love… The brain system evolved to focus your energy on an individual and start the mating process.’

At least now we have an excuse for acting so irrationally… ‘It wasn’t us, it was the love drug man!!’ Which brings us neatly onto the question of the day. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in a post-breakup haze?

- Amy Molloy


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