People who have been swept off their
feet know the feeling. Love makes us all feel funny.
That sense of giddy disorientation, unsinkable euphoria
and complete obsession with a new love can be so
overpowering, that it's hard to imagine it's all about
emotion. Now scientists are confirming there indeed may
be a lot more going on in a body that's in love than
simple, happy thoughts. In fact, a spate of research has
shown what kind of chemical and neurological activities
occur at different stages of human and animal
relationships. While the results hardly make love less
mysterious, they do start to shed light on why it can
make people feel so funny.
Helen Fisher, a research professor of anthropology at
Rutgers University , is among many scientists who
believe the flush of a new love is enhanced by natural
stimulants in the brain, dopamine and norepinphrine. She
explains that high levels of these natural chemicals can
make people lose their appetites and their desire for
sleep, just by thinking about their new infatuations.
"These are basic traits commonly associated with
romantic love and with these natural stimulants," she
says. "What else could explain the way you constantly
think about a person, about the way you want to read
them your bad poetry?"
Further studies show that gushy romantic sensations may
be similar to the highs drug addicts feel when they're
under the influence. Nora Volkow; the associate director
for life sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory in
New York , has analysed the behaviours of drug addicts
and people in love and found striking parallels. "When a
person is passionately in love, it is extremely exciting
and provocative, and if the loved one is not there,
distressing," says Volkow. "When I see my drug addicted
patients, it just clicks with me how similar the
addiction is. "The fact that drug addiction and
passionate love may trigger the same responses, signals
to Volkow that drug addiction is especially dangerous
since it taps into a natural sensation.
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