The Chemistry of Love. Can it Become a Form of Addiction?

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The chemical process behind love is interesting to me due to both the scientific angle/ biological process behind something we typically would not consider in that way…but also due to how there are so many correlations to the kind of responses that people have to addictions—down to how the “reward” element plays a crucial chemical role/ response with both. The thing is, chemical reactions just do their thing, regardless if it is responding to something that is fantasy, or something that is real. It completely makes sense given how many people get addicted to simply being in love ( we all have seen, or even experienced it)—people who have to have someone, anyone, in that focus placement/ filling that role, even if they barely know them, or its not a healthy or realistic situation.

I frequently see people who are not really in love, but in love with being IN love, and the way that it rewards, fills empty holes within, distracts from problems, and gives something to mentally focus on, etc….even if they are not actively with, or getting something from the person of focus (“On my own, pretending…”). I have seen patterns in many clients who routinely only select/ fall for people who are completely unobtainable– married, live very far away, bosses, someone who will never even talk to them etc.. They simply need/crave that “high”, and the other internal filling elements of being in love (even “tormented love” can be “filling” in it’s own dark, unhealthy way). However, despite intensely having that need, they sometimes are not able to contend with the issues faced in developing real relationships. Some people want to avoid real responsibilities and life changes, but typically it is more likely due to insecurities, fears etc.. that make some drawn to situations that obviously cannot ever develop into a real/ full relationship—thus they are able to gain the chemical rewards, and mental fillers of “love”, while also beating rejection to the punch in a sense. It also often involves an external excuse/reason to blame as the reason that it cannot work-out, compared to the possibility/risk of being rejected for personal reasons when engaging with those who are obtainable/real, and who have potential to grow into an actual mutual relationship ( or not, if it does not work out.. thus the scary risk element).

It really can be a fine line sometimes, and hard to determine when it is just some kind of addiction response or high, and when it truly is something solid, connected, real, healthy and so forth. It is hard enough to think and feel our way through things without having to also contend with our brains firing off chemicals that stimulate reward/ addiction centers etc.. which can also cloud judgment, and cause unhealthy situations and choices. I can see how anyone who is predisposed to addiction issues/ relying on chemical response rewards would have potentially more struggles with being able to separate fantasy from healthy connections/ relationships. Just my two cents, observations, considerations etc…given how many clients I see who struggle in this area, and how this helps to explain what could contribute to it. Many have other addictions/ struggles, thus why I can see that correlation.

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