Are You a Love Addict?

15 Jun

If you’ve been around long enough, you probably know a bit about addiction – at least the kind that involves illicit drugs or alcohol. But, what about love? Is it possible to be a love “addict”? And, if so, what does it mean for those around us?

Indeed, studies show that being with the object of your affection “lights up” the reward center in the brain, just like drugs do. And, love “addicts” go through all the same stages drug addicts do – euphoria, craving, tolerance, emotional and physical dependence, withdrawal and relapse.

When it comes to inner conflict, one can imagine the struggle. Just like drug users, love addicts often “understand” if the object of their desire is unhealthy for them. But, the cravings are so intense, many give-in and pursue the relationship anyway.

In my office, I often see this through the lens of infidelity. When one partner is addicted to someone outside the marriage, he/she is willing to jeopardize just about anything to get a “fix.” Sometimes, they risk divorce, separation from their children, even financial ruin. But, as many addicts will tell you, getting that “fix” is all that matters.

So, how do you break-out of your love addiction if it’s an unhealthy one? Research shows the benefits of the cold turkey approach. Getting rid of all evidence of your unhealthy addiction and focusing on healthy alternatives is key. The research also touts the benefits of staying busy.

Me? They all sound good, but I’m a big fan of journaling – it’s the best way to make sense of your feelings and interpret them logically. Once you see, on paper, how unhealthy someone is for you, it’s hard to argue.

Most of all, it’s important to acknowledge that, like all addictions, you’re the only one who can break the cycle.



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