Recovering from a break-up is like kicking an addiction to a drug, researchers found from looking at the brain scans of the broken-hearted.
You might as well face it. According to a new study, you really can be addicted to love.
From looking at the brain scans of the broken-hearted, researchers found that recovering from a break-up is like kicking an addiction to a drug.
"Romantic love is an addiction," said Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of the study. "I guess that our modern addictions -- nicotine, drugs, sex, gambling -- are simply hijacking this ancient brain pathway that evolved millions of years ago, that evolved for romantic love. The brain system evolved to focus your energy on an individual and start the mating process."
Fisher, who has long examined the evolutionary underpinnings of love, sex, and relationships, said that she previously studied the happily-in-love. But she said this recent study on the just-jilted and dejected is the most important one she'll ever do.
"Nobody gets out of love alive," Fisher said. "You turn into a menace or a pest when you've been rejected. That's when people stalk or commit suicide. There's a very powerful brain system that has a dramatic effect on your entire life."