Can You Actually Become Addicted To Love?

The end of any relationship is bound to have some affect on you.

But when the effects you're left with cause your typically supportive friends to consider ignoring your calls, you may have a problem.

One author found herself in such a predicament and realized (via a therapist) that she was a love addict:

Soon after, I found myself seated in a folding chair at a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A.) meeting. Some of the women there appeared relatively normal-others seemed stone cold crazy. The woman in the pink ‘HOT MESS' rhinestone-studded T-shirt admitted she had driven by her ex-boyfriend's house every day for seven years, and was still obsessing over him fourteen years later.

You may be reading this and thinking, "I've done things *sort of* like that. Not for fourteen years, but I can see where she's coming from".

Which brings up a good point. Where's the line?

Obviously, love and sex addiction are very real. But what is a 'normal' mourning period and furthermore, what is 'normal' behavior during that time? And isn't it possible that everyone is susceptible to going through a 'withdrawal' period after a painful separation from someone they cared for?

'Of course', says Dr. Helen Fisher:

"I suspect that anyone can become a love addict," says Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropological biologist at Rutgers University, who studied the brains of people who had just been dumped and found activity in a region associated with profound addiction. "Our brain circuitry evolved millions of years ago, and we all share it. But some people fall in love more often, or find themselves more dependent on their partner, as result of their childhoods or genetic propensities."

Unfortunately, it sounds like the line between late night stalking and listening to the same Smiths song on repeat may be a thin one indeed.

But we've all had to endure break-ups, whether we were the ones who were 'dumped' or the ones who ended things. So if we find ourselves faced with an uncharacteristically difficult time moving on, what's the best way to handle that? Oh. Anti-depressants? Really? Okay:

Dr. Fisher explains that some antidepressants can help after tough breakups because they elevate the brain's serotonin levels, but there's no magic pill. "Serotonin blunts the emotions," she says, "so it can theoretically kill feelings of romantic love -unless you are so passionate that nothing will kill it. The best way to speed the recovery from romantic rejection would be to treat it as an addiction. Throw away the cards and letters. No contact." She concludes, "Ultimately the only cure is time...and a new partner."

So what do you think, folks? Is it just time, a new crush, some Paxil, etc.? I'm sure someone out there is dying inside to know.

Crazy For Love? [The Fix]