Let’s start it from the beginning. Love is a feeling. It’s a feeling produced by some chemicals in your brain.
What is the cause of a production of those chemicals?
The answer is,
A stimulus: Which in this case, is somebody you’re attracted to.
The feelings of falling in love are caused by a combination of 3 neurotransmitters: phenylethylamine, noradrenaline,and dopamine. Later stages of long relationships are guiding by another two: oxytocin and serotonin.
Noradrenaline, stimulates the production of adrenaline, which makes our heart race, the palms sweat. NA activates noradrenergic neurons which result in effects like increased appetite, an experience of joy etc.
Dopamine is the most mysterious of these three chemicals. Most of it’s receptors are associated with the “pleasure system” of the brain. Sociability is often linked to dopamine neurotransmission. Low dopamine receptor binding is found in people with social anxiety. That means dopamine makes you happy, excited and talkative.
Many drugs of abuse increase the level of dopamine and NA in the brain. Basically, it affects the “reward circuit” of a brain. This circuit is actually a system that controls pleasure and motivation/ excitement. This is linked with the phenomena of addiction.
It can cause addiction and withdrawals which are pretty common. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s plain chemistry!
The extent of addiction varies. Usually, It depends on the environment and genes.
I’d like to explain why can those withdrawals turn into PTSD but first I need to explain the stages of love.
There are 3 basic stages/types of love:
- Lust or erotic passion
- Attraction or romantic passion
- Attachment or commitment
If these three stages are involved in a relationship the bond formed is very strong. Emotional attachment, A feeling of trust and satisfaction is included.
As the time passes, Lust turns into
Attraction and at the final stage:
Commitment comes along, often resulting in a long term relationship .
While many of us stop at stage 2 i.e Attraction, some proceed to level three creating a strong connection.
As I said, Love acts like a drug. Though the drug in the case is the person actually (stimulus) and love is just the effect. Some people (after breaking up with their loved ones) experience intense withdrawal effects. Others show variation is the response. It can be genes and/or environment and/or the extent of attachment or just like they like to say: “How deep is your love”
Post-breakup problems include nightmares, flashbacks, an extreme distrust of others, severe anxiety, insomnia, avoidance of anything related to the event, self-destructive behavior, guilt, and irritability. The PTSD-like symptoms are more likely to occur if the breakup was sudden and/or your partner was someone you fully trusted and/or you were extremely attached with them.
When to seek help:
If you continue to feel severely depressed even after a month.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- A Continuous headache, body pain.
- Guilt, Hopelessness, anxiety, panic attacks.
- Loss of appetite.
Where to seek help: Consult a professional psychologist or psychiatrist.
The word love is often thrown just like that carelessly but remember, It can cause psychological damage. Don’t make promises that you can not keep. The breakup might lead to chronic depression and worse. It’s not them being sentimental and sensitive. It exists. This feeling and phenomena is real. Sometimes few actions and words by a loved one can damage someone psychologically to a larger extent and possibly for a long period of time.