We can all agree on the fact that genuinely being in love is a special and positive experience.
But, the very act of falling in love with a person is a much more complex process than we could imagine. It involves a complicated network of pathways, which is composed of neurotransmitters and hormones that our brain shoots in the body’s bloodstream when we interact with a person we like and sympathize with.
Chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine play a key role in determining the complex physiological act of falling in love with someone.
Love addiction is also called pathological love, where pathological stands for uncontrollable, repetitive strong feelings.
Love addiction is a behavioral pattern that deals with excessive interest and infatuation towards the partner. It means a compulsion in love to take care of the partner and showing intense interest in them due to lack of control.
We all are naturally drawn towards love. As social animals, we seek a constant exchange of love. When it comes to romantic relationships, we aim at doing the utmost for our partners, placing them on a pedestal, and ensuring enough love, care, and attention.
So, is love an addiction? Can you be addicted to a person?
Often, such behavior can turn into a disorder when it splurges out of control, and we begin to addictively work towards the relationship as if it’s the end of the world. Love seeks balance, and when that is lost, it comes out as a disorder.
Love addiction is a kind of attachment disorder. Here, the person becomes highly dependent on the partner and tends to desert their other interests.
According to research, such a disorder can also fall under “obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mood disorder, or—although rare—part of a psychotic disorder that causes erotomania.”
Such types of love addicts are addicted to their partner, and despite the fact that the relationship is not working or the partner has become emotionally distant, they have a hard time severing ties with their partner and cannot stand the distance.
Love addiction can occur for a variety of reasons. Check these reasons to figure out the root cause of the problem.
1. Substance abuse
Studies in recent years have pointed to theories that postulate very close similarities between substance abuse and love addiction.
Love addicts experience the same negative effects as substance abusers, inevitably having to deal with anxiety, losing contact with friends and family, depression, sleeping disorders, and complete lack of interest in their passions and hobbies.
2. Psychological built of the brain
The act of falling in love stimulates the brain’s reward system, acting on the dopamine receptors and triggering feelings of pleasure and excitement.
This propels the individual to constantly seek desire and exhilaration, which inevitably leads to the addiction and addictive relationship patterns in the person’s character.
The individuals who are addicted to falling in love crave the initial thrill of their first romance and want to relive those moments over and over.
Thus, the addicted person will search for more and more relationships to fulfill their desire. According to Robert Weiss, love addicts do not actually seek love at all.
The rush and high of the first romance is oftentimes entitled limerence, which represents the psychological word that denotes the early developing stages of a relationship between two individuals.
They try to avoid stress and other worries by continuously chasing the natural high that falling in love confers to them, to dull the ups and downs that they experience in their daily lives by getting their natural high.
Although most of us can say that we’ve also been through this state of limerence in our relationships, we can also say that as we evolved on the road in them alongside our partners, the excitement ultimately faded out over time and became less exciting but with a more intimate and reliable connection to one another.
With love addicts, the state of limerence must be constantly achieved and always be present in their lives.
4. Childhood trauma
It could also be possible that during childhood, the addict must have faced something severely negative that may have left an impression on the mind. Such trauma can play a role in stopping the person from moving forward in life.
Such incidents keep revising the mind and keep the victim in fear.
5. Lack of self-esteem
A lack of self-esteem will always cause disbalance in the relationship and keep the victim in fear. In the case of a love-addict, the same happens. Low self-esteem will cause difficulties and the victim will feel their lover can abandon them anytime.
We have to note that this is not an absolute standard and that people who sometimes exhibit some of the above symptoms may not necessarily be suffering from the addiction. These signs can also correlate to the risk factors of relationship addiction.
To confirm that an individual is suffering from love addiction, a sad person who is constantly expressing feelings of unhappiness in all of their relationships has a bigger chance of being afflicted by the condition than someone who already had a few joyful relationships, just one unhappy one.
Addictive love is a complex condition, and there are various risks associated with it. Addiction in any form is a challenge, and when it involves someone you are in a relationship with, it affects their life too, as they are facing love addiction.
Considering you are suffering from love addiction and haven’t really been in good relationships, it’s important to first theoretically grasp some idea so that you know what it is like to be with the right person.
Once you know, take deliberate steps towards finding such a person.
Affirmations go a long way in changing our attitude towards life or a particular situation we are practicing affirmations for. They will help you become highly positive and drive away negative thoughts.
In the video below, Alan Robarge sheds more light on how to overcome love addiction:
Therapies for love addiction: Can it be cured?
Although if someone is addicted to falling in love, it must be brought to light that it is very similar to drug addiction, the treatment and methods used to cure the two differ entirely from one another.
A psychologist can help people who are struggling with addiction with the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The love addiction treatment comprises therapy sessions with addicted patients, the psychologist conversing with them and trying to discover the source of their feelings and beliefs, and institute new behavioral patterns.
Next, there can also be lifestyle changes recommended by the therapists for overcoming love addiction and to speed up the love addiction recovery process. These love addiction recovery steps could include:
Love addiction can take a toll on a person’s well-being, both mentally and physically, and like any other addict, they always want their craving to be constantly satisfied.
Men and women can get addicted to love just as much as the patients who are prescribed opiates for their pain get later on addicted to their medicine.
Love addiction is just like any other addiction. When people become too preoccupied with it and start to obsess over the fact that they constantly need to love or be loved by someone, they usually tend to react in the same compulsive manner, which is similar to that of drug users, alcoholics, or compulsive gamblers.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.