Researchers examined the parallels between drug addiction and love addiction in a recent study.
Researchers have determined that there are two kinds of love addiction, and that there are parallels to drug addiction in terms of the effects on the brain. Intense romance is often accompanied by symptoms resembling addiction—euphoria, craving, dependence, withdrawal and relapse.
Study has found that there are two different kinds of love addiction, which they’ve termed “broad” and “narrow.”
The “broad” form of addiction is the one that most people have experienced. It falls on the same spectrum as “normal” love and some researchers don’t even consider it to be an addiction. It’s categorized by extreme feelings on either end of the spectrum—euphoria after interactions with a partner, and feelings of depression or grief when a relationship ends.
While in the relationship, the feelings of “need” to see a person may be intensified if long periods of time pass between visits. But the cravings and needs typical of this broad type of love addiction are generally considered “controllable.”
The “narrow” kind of addiction, however, is much more damaging and troublesome and may be closer to what we typically think of as “obsession” and “abuse.” People who experience this kind of love addiction ignore damaging effects and consequences of their relationship in order to be near that person. They may want to spend all their time with the object of their affection, struggle to stay away from them when separated, and can lead to stalking and murder.
Like other types of addictions, this behavior is triggered by abnormal processes in the brain that boost reward signals, and may play a role in keeping people in abusive relationships.