Love Detox

Falling in love? You might as well take a good haul off a crack pipe or down a fifth of vodka.

According to a recent WebMD article romantic love seems to be linked with the same parts of the brain that also facilitate addiction.  And more importantly, the loss of that feeling causes a reaction similar to that of detox.

“You crave the person who dumped you,” states Helen E. Fisher, PhD from Rutger University (where the study was conducted.)  “You go through withdrawal, you can relapse, and cravings can be sparked months after you think you’ve gotten over it.”

And for anyone who has been through a dicey break-up of any sort, this theory probably rings more than true.  You have that can’t eat, can’t sleep (or constantly sleep,) melancholy aching void that you can’t seem to fill no matter how much Pinot you down.  You spend an inordinate amount of time on their Facebook page, desperately searching for a clue or hint, wondering what ever happened.  You find yourself going to your old “couple haunts” on the impossible chance that the Universe will somehow decide to send them there the same night.

The study further provides that the longer the addiction to your love drug, the harder and more painful the detoxing is.

Can't Eat, Can't Sleep, Can't Breathe
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Julian Hibbard

Sure, it’s “easier” if the break if mutual, but re-learning your life pre-relationship/cigarette/crack pipe is a challenge no matter how you cut it.

Much like Jenna Elfman in the movie Keeping The Faith, I quit smoking and “when I see someone smoking I want to french kiss them just to suck the nicotine our of their lungs.”  I feel that is probably not a healthy reaction.  And would cause many awkward conversations on the lower (smoking) deck at Brian Boru.

The withdrawal is much worse when you never saw the loss coming.  There’s a reason that doctors have concluded that yes, a person CAN in fact die “from a broken heart.”  When you are going along in a happy blissful state, completely unaware of what is happening and suddenly someone rips that drugs out of your veins.  They stop calling, they meet you in public and yelling ensues, they tell you they’re just not that into you which sucks because you are VERY much into them.

I’ll admit, I’ve never detoxed off of anything like a crack pipe or 5th of vodka a day addiction.  They say you have to have a predispsition to addiction, and my personality is far too non-committal to allow for such things.  And maybe thiscomparison is trite and ridiculous in that respect.

Still, I don’t know that the abrupt end of a relationship is something that anyone can “handle well.”

At least it maybe helps to explain why I have close to twenty empty wines bottles in my kitchen, a DVR full of Made-For-TV Chick Flicks, a freezer full of ice cream sandwiches and pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and an irregular sleeping patten (at best) lately.

What do you think of the Rutgers/WebMD study?  Have you experienced the “love detox” before?  What was it like?

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