Being in Love Linked to Marked Physical Changes, Say Researchers

Posted by on 03 17 12 in Love Addiction News | Comments Off on Being in Love Linked to Marked Physical Changes, Say Researchers

Think love causes a major change of the heart? Think again. Researchers say love may actually cause significant changes at the brain level, along with several other parts of the body.

Researchers are investigating how the body reacts when a person falls in love, as described in a recent Fox News article, and finding that changes impact everything from the brain to the sweat glands to the adrenaline system. The findings may also help experts understand the complexities of love addiction.

Dopamine, for example, is a neurotransmitter linked closely to pleasure. When someone falls in love, dopamine can surge, brining on a sense of euphoria. It is a similar reaction to how consuming alcohol feels to an alcoholic, and these changes in dopamine could explain why some people cannot stop themselves from craving a new love relationship when one ends.

Oxytocin is another chemical believed linked to romantic love. It promotes a closer, more personal connection and the feelings that surround this connection. Some studies also suggest oxytocin may curb fears and anxiety, impacting a person’s decision-making and their desires to be with their loved one.

The hormone norepinephrine is also being investigated because it helps generate a more rapid heart rate and facial flushing when a person of affection is near. It can also lead to difficulty talking or stomach problems. Pheromones carry messages about scent and conjure up powerful memories and associations, which may make letting go of a relationship even more difficult for a person whose brain is already impacted by the patterns generated in a love addiction.

Researchers point out that while the studies to explore the physical symptoms of romantic love are relatively new, the concept isn’t new. People have been noted to describe the physical impact of love for centuries, across literature, music and drama. However, as more is known about the factors and physical changes related to people with love addiction, experts may learn how to lead people toward new ways to cope with the stressors that become triggers. They may also identify more ways to help people with love addiction avoid overuse of medications of pain and other physical problems.