Addicted to Love: Not Just a Song

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There are many types of addiction - substance, gambling, food, sex...the list goes on. But it seems like everyone could use more love in their lives, right? For some people, however, love becomes all-consuming. The emotional high of contact with another person who shows interest or love for the other person gets addictive, and soon, the level of attention becomes insufficient for the addict, who craves more and more. When the attention is withdrawn - usually in the form of a breakup - the emotional breakdown is comparable to a drug addict coming down. The physical symptoms can even be similar - sweating, insomnia, nausea, etc. Researchers have found a link to love's effect on the brain and that of drugs like cocaine and heroin. Withdrawal from these drugs stimulates the same brain pathways as the ensuing reaction of a breakup. Brain-imaging technology showed that study subjects who were scanned while viewing pictures of their romantic partners had the same areas of their brains light up as those that correspond to drug addiction.