Study: Love is like an addiction

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Study: Love works like an addiction.

(07/12/2010) US researchers have found out that love - especially lovesickness - works like a natural addiction. This activates areas in the brain that are also used in other addictions.

Lovesickness could be seen as a withdrawal phenomenon and everyone who has been affected by it will have already suspected it. A passionate love, the researchers say, is like a natural addiction. Scientists from the US "Albert Einstein College of Medicine" carried out a brain study with ten women and five men to prove this assumption. The study participants had been abandoned by their former partners two months earlier and suffered greatly from the separation. 85 percent of the subjects thought of their ex-partners in their free time or at work and showed symptoms of lovesickness.

During the course of the study, the men and women were shown pictures of their former partners. The scientists observed the brain activities with the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRT). When looking at the pictures, activities in the so-called "reward center" in the brain could be detected, which is also active in cocaine addicts. In addition, numerous areas of the human brain that are responsible for addictive behavior have been activated.

The study could help explain why people with lovesickness are sometimes prone to obsessive behavior. Especially when they are rejected by their partner or lover. The researchers published their study results in the journal "Journal of Neurophysiology". "Romantic love seems to be a natural addiction under both happy and unhappy circumstances," sums up the study's author, Lucy Brown. Lovesickness seems to be a presumably necessary part of our life that nature has built into us, Brown continues. But as the saying goes: "Time heals all wounds" and that could also be determined during the course of the study. The longer ago the separation from the ex-partner was, the less the "reward center" was activated when looking at pictures of the ex-partner in the brain. That gives many people hope that at some point the pain will go away and you will be open to a new bond again. (sb)

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