The term “love addiction” typically gets scoffed at – medical professionals may not consider it as a true addiction because it doesn’t rely on a specific substance or evidence.
But, as we all know, love is a messy thing. We’ve seen people fall head over heels for their partner (hey, you might have even been one of them), but we never usually think that you could be too in love with someone, to the point of facing real addiction symptoms.
So, let’s get to the bottom of it: is love addiction real?
Definition of Addiction
Let’s start with addiction as a whole, so we can understand whether love can be addictive.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), “addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.” It can be caused from a variety of risk factors, including:
- Environment (neglect, peer pressure)
- Age you begin behavior
“People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences,” concludes the ASAM. This means that even if a substance or behavior is negatively affecting their lives, they continue to engage in it to satisfy that craving.
The Feeling of Love
As a matter of fact, it’s pretty common to have an obsession with love or a loved one. People who have this obsession and dependence with their romantic partner tend to:
- Have high opinions of their partner and low opinions of themselves
- Love aggressively as a defense mechanism against emotional pay
- Assign a majority of their time to one person — pour all their time into their relationship despite conflicts with friends, family, or work
Strangely enough, the behaviors of someone with a love obsession lines up perfectly with the symptoms and definition of addiction.
Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Love
While there is no official diagnosis for love addiction, it can help describe and shed light on deeper issues. Once someone knows they have this dependence, they can take next steps to rid themselves of it.
People who are “addicted” to love tend to show the same general signs as those with substance abuse issues: craving, increasing tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse surrounding the object of their affection. And most of the time, they choose people with intimacy issues in interest of “fixing” them. If this addiction is interrupted by a break-up, the dependent individual may even start to feel withdrawal symptoms.
Navigating a Love Addiction
Love addiction is a very real and possible thing that many individuals suffer every day. If you think you may be developing a dependence to a romantic partner, try to take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others. These steps may include counseling, establishing boundaries, and enjoying alone time. An addiction to love usually stems from a painful childhood, so determining the root of the issue is a big building block to recovery.
If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing a love addiction, learn more about treatment options giving us a call at 267.719.8689.