“Love addiction” isn’t listed in the DSM-5 it is indeed a very real addiction for those who have to live through it. Anyone who has suffered the pain of a “crush” or the agony of a breakup knows the symptoms. Many of the symptoms mirror those of someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- Euphoric highs
- Paranoia (typically jealousy run riot)
- Cravings for love, attention, sex, communication
- Dependence in the form of codependence
- Symptoms of withdrawal like not being able to eat, sleep, think, having hyper emotions, experiencing anxiety and/or depression, getting physically ill
- Relapse by experiencing the same turmoil over and over again, either with the same person or someone new
At the Oxford University Centre For Neuroethics, researchers believe they have found two distinct types of love addiction after intensely reviewing over 60 studies on love addiction which spanned the course of 6 decades.
Love Addiction #1 “Narrow”
According to New Scientist, the first kind of love addiction is about creating signals of reward in the brain. The reward system and all of its components, like dopamine the neurotransmitter of pleasure, is a critical part of chemical addiction. “People who feel desperately alone when not in a relationship and try to replace an ex-partner straight away, could have what the team has called a ‘narrow’ form of love addiction.” Such individuals experience cravings, lack of boundaries in managing balanced time with a partner, and obsessive behavior. Behaviors like these result from “impaired control and social impairment”, the article explains, which is due to the way the brain is overcome by the pleasurable reward of “love” and what an individual’s perceives to be love. When such behaviors lead to self-harm, stalking, or even psychotic behavior, it is not longer anything close to love.
Love Addiction #2 “Broad”
While the narrow love addiction type emphasizes specific behaviors and reactions to love, the more broad depiction focuses on emotional experiences. Love is a rush. Falling in love feels bewildering and incredible. Falling out of love can be painful and disappointing. Intense euphoria followed by deep depression are addictive emotional behaviors. Feeling happy only when in contact with “love” yet depressed without it means that emotions are completely dependent upon being in a relationship or having some sort of connection to “love” in their life.
LEAD Recovery Center welcomes clients struggling with sex and love addiction in addition to other mental health disorders and chemical dependency. Our long term transitional programs help clients achieve autonomy in recovery. For more information, call us today at 1-800-380-0012.