When we think of addiction, oftentimes the first issues to come to mind are substance addictions. Addictions to drugs and alcohol often dominate the scene in rehab center San Diego. These physically addictive substances can cause physical withdrawal symptoms, overdoses, and dangerous behavior.
However, it’s possible for people to become addicted to things far more wholesome – including love. People with an addiction to love may not be at risk of overdosing, but they can damage their dopamine system in a nearly identical way as drug users. They may also be prone to dangerous behavior such as unprotected sex, prostitution, and emotional negligence.
What Is Love Addiction?
Love addiction is a condition that causes someone to be obsessed with love. As humans, we all need love. Intimacy, love, and connection are a large part of what fuels our existence. However, when this desire for love and connection becomes an obsession rather than a simple part of life, we may be prone to developing love addiction.
Someone who is addicted to love may also be addicted to sex, although these two different addictions can exist independently of each other. Sex addiction is characterized mainly by an addiction to the physical components of love. Love addiction can occur whether or not sex is involved at all.
Love addiction is characterized by a number of things.
- A need to constantly seek emotional validation from other people
- Inability to spend time alone or to go several days without feeling loved
- Excessive amounts of relationships with other people, the need to constantly be in a romantic relationship
- The inability to function on one’s own without a romantic investment
Problems Caused by Love Addiction
Love addiction can cause a number of problems.
- People who are addicted to any behavior, whether it is cuddling or using drugs, risk damaging their dopamine system. Compulsively seeking out any behaviors that provide a reward, including love, can desensitize this system.
- People who are addicted to love are more likely to enter into dangerous relationships or engage in uninhibited activity. They may be prone to have unprotected sex with strangers or hurting their love interests in an attempt to constantly find more love.
- Love addicts often struggle to develop a strong sense of independence. By constantly requiring the affections of others, they do themselves a disservice by neglecting their own self-growth.
- Love addicts may have a hard time developing serious long-term relationships, and the relationships that they do start may be dysfunctional. They often enter relationships seeking to gain something (love) rather than to build and share something.
Conclusion & Managing Love Addictions
Love addiction may be a bit different than a drug or alcohol addiction, but they can often be treated in a similar fashion. Addictions, whether they are physical (drugs and alcohol) or behavioral (love and sex) often reflect a similar type of habitual behavior.