Love Addiction Linked Highly with Substance Abuse
Love is one of the basic emotions of the human being, connected to all our organic systems through hormonal regulation and a key marker of psychological health. For centuries, this emotion has been a determining factor in our evolution, as well as its opposite, hate.
However, while love can be exciting, it can also be dangerous. Love, as a marker of behavior, can lead us to be distracted, unreliable, unreasonable, or even to death. Statistics from 2011 in the United States showed that 10% of the motives for that year’s murders were related to love. In most cases, the attacker was the lover. (1)
Still, perhaps the greatest danger that comes from love is dependence. Initially, love addiction is a “behavioral” dependency, where our behavior is determined almost entirely by the reactions and behavior of the couple. This stands out when relationships come to an unwanted end, where there are almost endless cycles of hopelessness, despair, hurt, etc.
These phenomena are the same as those seen in other cases of dependency, such as drug or alcohol abuse or gambling. The experience is similar, although the organic impact is different. Even so, psychologically speaking, the impact (and our emotional response) would be almost the same.
However, in many cases we observe the intrinsic relationship between both phenomena. It is common for a patient, experiencing Love Addiction, to end up with Substance Abuse. This relationship seems to be related to problems occurring during childhood, which – the patient – tries to self-medicate, through the drugs. (3)
Despite all these findings, Love Addiction is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V), although the relationship of substance abuse to this phenomenon is clearly linked in the relevant section.
Rooted in the Childhood
Several studies link the origin of these disorders to problems that occurred during childhood, especially between the child and the relationship with his or her parents. It appears that abusive or unavailable parents may cause long-term damage to your relationships.
Let’s remember that, while we are children, the only “figure” to whom we can express real love (both physical and emotional) is our parents. If this does not exist, or if parents simply do not foster this bond in a healthy way, physical and emotional development – in relation to love – can be disrupted.
If we don’t learn in childhood the healthy and nurturing nature of love, you will most likely develop behaviors that attempt to resolve or fill in those gaps you are leaving behind. Two of the most common, and linked, are Love Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Several experts on the subject, such as Martha Graham, say that the first unhealthy contact with some socially accepted drugs (such as alcohol) is related to the first heartbreak, or at least, to disorders related to the emotional or sexual area.
A healthy environment in childhood provides you with the emotional tools necessary to avoid abusive contact with addictive substances. If you do not acquire these skills at this vital stage, you will most likely use Substance Abuse as an alternative to quench the impact of Love Addiction on your body. You wouldn’t be solving any problems but would be getting a temporary solution that would “disappear” the symptoms of Love Addiction.
Substance abuse: A Common Misguided Response
Drugs become a temporary escape for those who are suffering emotionally, especially those who experience Love Addiction and then find themselves needing – unwittingly – to suddenly give it up. The best (and perhaps quickest) way to escape emotional pain is not by treating it, but by using anything that can overlap it. (2)
It is also important to mention that not only alcohol is on this list, but almost all drugs can be involved in this behavior. In fact, it is often possible to appreciate multiple drug use at the same time.
Just as drug addicts can experience craving and withdrawal symptoms, people who suffer from Love Addiction do so as well. However, it is not so easy to replace the substrate of Love Addiction to replace another type of object.
For example, a person who suddenly (and involuntarily) stops smoking may try to find a cigarette where possible in order to quell the craving and withdrawal symptoms, but how can a person suffering from Love Addiction do the same?
The fixation in this type of patient is not widespread. Not just anyone can become the object of their addiction, but one specific person (most of the time). For this reason, he must look for an escape (at least temporarily) from the suffering he suffers and the expectation that he will not be able to find a quick solution to his basic problem.
In fact, according to some specialists in the field, it seems that withdrawal symptoms can be 10 times worse in love addiction than in substance abuse. The reason is that the emotional connection magnifies the impact of this feeling and therefore increases the pain in its absence.
In addition, drug use may overlap other symptoms that appear as comorbidities in love addiction. Here we would have depressive symptoms, suicidal urges, and personality disorders. All of these are strongly linked to atypical behavior and drug abuse.
This link between these two phenomena can be confirmed during relapses. Every time the relationship or any relationship of the affected patient ends, there is only one “possible” solution in his mind: alcohol and drugs. This in turn creates an almost infinite cycle, which, in order to overcome it, will require leaving both addictions at the same time.
Of course, controlling one of them (perhaps the most dangerous one) can improve the quality of life (biological) of those who suffer from Love addiction, as when we treat drug addiction. Some specialized centers, like the Shoreline Recovery Center in San Diego that has rehabilitation treatments for several different drugs, can help you with your problem.
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