Love is a drug, goes the saying. But this might not actually be too far from the truth, because love could actually be addictive.
Researchers have found evidence of two different theories of love addiction, after reviewing 64 studies of love and addiction published over the last 60 years.
The first is the “narrow view”:
People who feel lonely when they’re single, and go straight from one relationship to the next, could have what the researchers call a “narrow” type of love addiction. This can be caused by abnormal processes in the brain that boost reward signals, much like other types of addiction, and isn't present in people without an addiction.
And then there’s the “broad” type of love addiction:
This theory compares love addiction to an appetite, where we seek out to satisfy a need. The study states:
This approach would claim that to love someone is literally to be addicted to them, though perhaps only weakly.
The researchers cite evidence that the brain regions and neurochemicals involved in addiction and romantic bonding are similar, and conclude there are “many” similarities between everyday romantic attachment and addiction.
Their paper concludes:
In this article, we have argued that there is now abundant behavioral, neurochemical and neuroimaging evidence to support the claim that love is (or at least that it can be) an addiction, in much the same way that chronic drug-seeking behavior can be termed an addiction.
People whose lives are negatively impacted by love ought to be offered support and treatment opportunities analogous to those that we extend to substance abusers.
And now, because it's probably stuck in your head...