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Community Blog: Your Brain In Love

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Community Blog: Your Brain In Love

You can't stop thinking about her. Every love song reminds you of her. Every thought drifts to her. You feel exhilarated just thinking of her. You feel as though you are floating on a cloud. Nothing else matters. Only her.

Well, my friend, it appears you are under the influence of PEA—the Love Drug! Your brain is producing a natural amphetamine called Phenylethylamine (PEA). The reason you feel drugged is that you are. When you first fall in love, PEA is being released. Your heart palpitates, your hands sweat and you breathe heavier. This natural high is given to us by nature. The Chemistry of Love

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Think of all the things that happen to you during this stage of romantic love. Your friends notice that you are in a different world, somewhere between manic and obsessed. You are calling your love or texting her around the clock. Your heart beats faster when you hear your phone ring. Colors appear more vibrant. Food tastes better. Every love song seems to have been written for you. Your mind has one track—and that is your love, 24/7.

Neuroscientists have become very interested in all this brain activity during this phase of romantic love. According to the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers attest that romantic love is more of a biological urge. Neurally, it is similar to drives and urges like hunger, thirst or drug cravings. Just as our brain craves water and food, it also appears to crave romantic love.

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Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love, was able to show how the caudate nucleus (the reward center of the brain) becomes very active when subjects are shown photos of their lovers. Fisher took brain scans (MRIs) of 18 college students in love while they gazed at pictures of their lovers. She also took brain scans (MRIs) while they looked at pictures of close friends. Her findings showed that when the subjects looked at their romantic partners, the areas of the brain with large amounts of dopamine receptors were very activated. Whereas when they looked at pictures of their friends, no activity was noted in this region of the brain. According to Fisher, couples often display signs of surging dopamine by displaying increased energy, less need for sleep or food, and increased sexual arousal. One might surmise from these findings that we appear to be biologically wired for love. Helen Fisher Talks To YourTango: Discover Your "Type" (It Really Exists)

This area of the brain where the caudate nucleus is located is also considered the old brain, the most primitive part of the brain that stores emotion and memory. It is mostly concerned with always asking the question, “Is it safe or is it dangerous?” All of our automatic responses stem from here. It is in the old brain that we store our childhood memories and all the traits of our primary caretakers.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Cynthia Thrasher

Counselor/TherapistCynthia Thrasher LCSW
Location: Bradenton, FL
Credentials: LCSW
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