Love can create an addictive-like high

Andrea Silveira, Staff Writer

Addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, exercising and other habits — healthy or not — have always plagued modern society.  But one addiction has been around for centuries and is still a hot commodity: love.
Love is something almost everyone is exposed to at a young age through movies, books, stories and just everyday life.
Love is unique in terms of addiction in that people can crave it even before they experience romance, which is often a precursor for adult relationships.  Some find love early in life and others take years to find their “other half.”
Similar to heroin or cocaine, the brain undergoes distinct changes when love is experienced and also when it’s withdrawn.  If everyone knew how dangerous love could be to their own mental state, would everyone still want it?
“Love makes people crazy and when someone is in a relationship for a long time, they get used to being in love, and when they break up they feel a withdrawal from their significant other,” senior Aryssa Tadena said.
When someone experiences love, the chemicals oxytocin and dopamine are produced in the brain and elevate feelings of happiness.  These same chemicals are produced when someone takes marijuana or heroin.  This chemical interference in the brain causes addiction and can make people go out of their way to seek the affection they crave.
Society is full of happy couples, and their love is displayed all over social media.  In effect, single people scrolling through the platforms start to feel lonely or sad; all they want is to experience this happiness they can supposedly only find in another person.
“On Twitter you see threads about couples and it makes people feel alone and depressed,” junior Jaan Jaime said.
Individuals believe starting the search for love is a societal norm and feel the pressure from social media, so a never-ending circle ensues: finding love, losing it and then yearning for it.
“There are these societal views that show like the ‘perfect’ relationship,” sophomore Annabella Nguyen said.  “Social media plays a huge part in that because it showcases only certain parts of a relationship that gives people a sense of hope that they’ll have this perfect relationship with only good moments.”
Love is a timeless concept, but it has also evolved. Today, technology impacts relationships in many aspects.  A person can contact a partner any time of the day and keep track of how they are.  The purpose of love has also changed a lot in just the last one hundred years.
 “I think in the past people didn’t actually love each other, it was more of obligation to be a family and have children,” Tadena said. “Today, especially, women are more independent.  They go to school and get a job, then find love.  Now, we don’t have to find love because it’s what is expected, but we find love because it’s our choice.”
Love cannot be understood from the outside, one must experience love to know what it’s like.  Even though love isn’t as life-threatening as heroin or cocaine, it has similar effects both creating a high and causing emotional pain when it is lost.