July 06, 2010
Brain Scans Show Romantic Rejection

Cocaine addiction and love are similar. So should love be banned along with cocaine? Or should the Betty Ford Center start treating jilted lovers?

July 6, 2010 (BRONX, NY) Researchers have linked rejection by a romantic partner to brain activity associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology. Lucy Brown, Ph.D., clinical professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, is the corresponding author of the study. This is the third publication in which Dr. Brown and her research group demonstrated that primitive reward and survival systems are activated in people who look at their beloved.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers recorded the brain activity of 15 college-age adults who had recently been rejected by their partners but reported that they were still intensely "in love." Upon viewing photographs of their former partners, several key areas of participants' brains were activated, including the ventral tegmental area, which controls motivation and reward and is known to be involved in feelings of romantic love; the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex, which are associated with craving and addiction, specifically the dopaminergic reward system evident in cocaine addiction; and the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate, which are associated with physical pain and distress.

It is only natural to stalk your dealer when you are being force to kick the addiction.

By tying these specific areas of the brain to romantic rejection, the research provides insight into the anguished feelings that can accompany a break-up, as well as the extreme behaviors that can occur as a result, such as stalking, homicide and suicide.

Hey, if love is a natural addiction and drugs are developed to cure drug addictions I bet these drugs will enable us to avoid falling in love and to fall out of love more quickly.

"Romantic love, under both happy and unhappy circumstances, may be a 'natural' addiction," said Dr. Brown. "Our findings suggest that the pain of romantic rejection may be a necessary part of life that nature built into our anatomy and physiology. A natural recovery, to pair up with someone else, is in our physiology, too."

Of course, a new hook-up can work. If you think you are going to get dumped then time to start cheating on the sly. Think of it as like methadone if you don't feel all that strongly for your new lay.

This is a serious amount of obsession.

In the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to record brain activity in 15 college-age, heterosexual men and women who had recently been rejected by their partners but reported that they were still intensely "in love." The average length of time since the initial rejection and the participants' enrollment in the study was 63 days, and all participants scored high on a psychological test called the Passionate Love Scale, which determines the intensity of romantic feelings. All participants said they spent more than 85% of their waking hours thinking of the person who rejected them, they yearned for the person to return and they wanted to get back together.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 July 06 09:55 PM  Brain Love


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