Breakups are never easy, and thanks to social media, it’s become harder than ever to let people go.
Watching your ex do anything but cry in front of the TV during the day can be incredibly painful, so why is it so hard to stop stalking their profiles?
Much of it comes down to the chemicals in your brain.
To describe love in terms of chemical reactions is not very romantic. But while a breakup can break your heart, most of it happens in your head. What really happens in the brain when we are in love?
“It depends on which theory of love you endorse,” said Brian D. Earp, senior researcher in moral psychology at the University of Oxford, England. Pleasemynews. “In most philosophical accounts of love, this requires lovers to fundamentally care for each other. They want to promote the fulfillment of the other for their own good, without expecting specific benefits in return.
“Often, to maintain this type of disposition towards someone, it requires a relatively healthy bond of attachment, which is guaranteed by various chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and oxytocin, a neurohormone that is released by touch. , the hugs, the kisses, the orgasm, etc.” added Earp.
For some people, however, love is something more primitive. “Since lust or libido is an important part of a romantic relationship, chemicals like testosterone and estrogen — which regulate libido, among many other bodily processes — will also be at play,” Earp said. .
“In any case, when we love someone, there is no doubt that our brain’s reward system, of which dopamine is an important regulator, is activated by their presence, by experiences shared with them, or even simply thinking of him.”
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans have also suggested that love can alter the structure of areas of your brain involved in processing sensory and emotional information and rewards.
Whether love can be considered an addiction depends a lot on how you define “addiction.”
“There are two main ways of thinking about addiction that some researchers have identified,” Earp said.
“One is preferred primarily by neuroscientists, who see addiction as a kind of relationship between a person and certain substances, where, among other things, these stimuli have ‘hijacked’ the brain’s reward system, eliciting abnormal processes and dysfunctional that result in compulsive substance-seeking behavior and cause withdrawal when the substance is not available.
“Another way of thinking about addiction that some philosophers favor is that it is basically a kind of craving – for any rewarding substance or behavior…that goes against the goals or the good -be deeper than a person, or that of others, and can become a problem for a wider range of substances or behaviors – from food to gambling to sex.”
The first definition could be used to describe a “love addiction”, where the chemical high of attachment drives the addictive behavior.
“One view of love addiction is that it is a kind of compulsive desire to become attached and sexually engaged with a romantic object where it involves a disordered reward system, where the need to be with someone ‘hijacked’ the brain, like some drugs are supposed to do,” Earp said.
“If you accept a more ‘scientific’ explanation of love, which reduces it, controversially, to biological systems and psycho-behavioral phenomena, and consider cases where these systems and behaviors are chronically out of whack, hurting yourself or others and feeling out of control, then ‘love addiction’ would be something like that.”
If love really is an addiction, it’s no wonder we find it so hard to let people go.
“A wealth of work suggests that going through a relationship breakup, experiencing a betrayal in love, or coping with the sudden loss of an important attachment figure can lead to feelings of pain and withdrawal that share many similarities with the withdrawal associated with quitting. the use of certain chemicals, both in terms of brain activity and in terms of subjective experience,” Earp said.
A Columbia University study found that when participants looked at photos of a recent ex, the same centers in their brains lit up as when they were pricked in the arm by a red-hot probe. The same did not happen when the same participants were asked to view photos of their friends.
While seeing photos of your ex can cause real physical pain, it can still be hard to resist the urge to forensically investigate their social media.