Brain Imagery Used to Show Brain Changes in Patients with Love Addiction

Posted by on 12 29 11 in Love Addiction News | Comments Off on Brain Imagery Used to Show Brain Changes in Patients with Love Addiction

Craving love? Unable to stop yourself from moving from one romantic relationship to another? A study suggests you may be trying to overcome an addiction to love that can be as powerful as conquering an addiction to a substance like cocaine. And the pathways for the addiction could be millions of years old.

Rutgers University’s Helen Fisher described a study on love addiction from her perspective as a biological anthropologist. Fisher believes the circuitry that is connected to love addiction may have been developed eons ago to help keep humans interested in reproducing. Today, Fisher believes the addiction may have progressed to various forms of love addiction – a genuine, treatable addiction that can consume relationships, careers and families.

Using brain imagery techniques, Fisher has speculated that when a romantic relationship ends, the brain responds in a strong manner, contributing to suicide attempts or strange behaviors like stalking a former partner.

The study is one of the most comprehensive in the subject area and allowed researchers to examine pictures of participants’ brains who had recently experienced the end of a romantic relationship. The areas of their brains that reacted to cues were very similar to the brain areas that are reached when a person undergoes pain or is addicted to substances like nicotine and other more powerful drugs.

Fisher’s study could help further additional research into the realities and the biological basis for love addiction, paving the way for new treatments and centers to help people who are experiencing it. Researchers hope continued studies will encourage the acceptance of love addiction as a true addiction, along similar lines as drug addiction, in which specific cessation strategies must be in place for recovery.

The study could also encourage more work into studying the obsessive qualities of love addiction that keep so many patients hindered in the hopelessness and out-of-control aspects of the addiction.

Love addiction can be demonstrated by the following behaviors:

  • Searching for a new romantic relationship or partner frequently
  • Strong challenges with remaining single or being alone
  • Allowing sex to be a method to draw in a new relationship partner
  • Avoiding encounters with friends, career situations or family in order to keep a relationship with a romantic partner going
  • Feelings of detachment and restlessness in a relationship, but desperation when the relationship ends
  • Going back to harmful relationships even after vowing not to

For many patients working through love addiction, findings like Fisher’s may help encourage them to take another step each day toward recovery because the study gives some scientific basis for feelings and behaviors they can’t seem to control.