May 05, 2004
Hormone Levels Change When Falling In Love

Donatella Marazziti of the University of Pisa has found looking at hormone levels that people in love are under more stress and the gap between male and female levels of testosterone converges.

The first finding was that both men and women in love have considerably higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, indicating that courtship can be somewhat stressful. "But the most intriguing finding is related to testosterone," says Marazziti.

Split the difference

Men who were in love had lower levels of the male sex hormone testosterone - linked to aggression and sex drive - than the other men. Love-struck women, in contrast, had higher levels of testosterone than their counterparts, the team will report in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

If stress and altered hormone levels are not for you and if you agree with Peter Wolf that "Love Stinks" there may be hope in the form of pharmaceuticals. The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Paxil may suppress the feeling of romantic love and attachment in at least some people.

Dr. Helen E. Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers, presented findings that suggest, she says, that common antidepressants that tinker with serotonin levels in the brain can also disrupt neural circuits involved in romance and attachment.

SSRIs are probably too dangerous for children to use to get over puppy love. But they might be useful for those depressed people who are feeling real romantic pain.

It would be interesting to know whether men taking testosterone are less likely to fall in love.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2004 May 05 01:08 PM  Brain Love


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