Love Addiction Proves There’s a Dangerous Side to Affection

Posted by on 08 06 14 in Co-Occurring Issues | Comments Off on Love Addiction Proves There’s a Dangerous Side to Affection

Untangling the Mysteries of Love Addiction

Many people have experienced the heady excitement of new love and the heartache of love gone wrong. But can love turn into an addiction?

A team of researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston says yes, that extreme feelings of love toward another person can sometimes develop into a maladaptive attachment. These feelings can lead to destruction of the relationship and dysfunctional behavior. This type of “love addiction” often causes individuals to stay in a relationship that is dangerous to their well-being or causes depression long after the break-up.

One of the questions the researchers asked is why people can become addicted to the feeling of love and whether this addiction should be considered a disorder. Researchers involved in the study defined someone suffering from “love addiction” as a person who displays such an intense attachment to their partner or partners that the attachment creates problems in their daily lives. People who have the potential to be diagnosed with love addiction show loss of control and of the ability to function on a day-to-day basis without being affected by the behaviors of those they are in love with. The addiction seemed to affect young adults at a much higher rate than any other age group.

Who Is at Risk for Love Addiction?

  • Those who do not understand the concept of mature love
  • Individuals who demonstrate impulsiveness
  • Those living in an unstructured home environment
  • People with high levels of anxiety
  • People with co-dependency issues

The investigators looked at chemicals in the brain that could be a factor in love addiction: dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin and an opioid hormone. The researchers concluded that individuals with abnormal levels in some areas showed signs of varying addiction and relationship deficiencies.

Though no studies were found that proved medications would help the problem, the researchers did suggest that mental exercises and therapy that targets symptoms, along with interventional counseling, may make a difference. They also found that cognitive behavior therapy and group therapy could be beneficial.