Love, Are You Addicted?
Love may be in the air, but are you drunk on love? Love as an addiction has been highly debated. Being in love can give feelings of extraordinary bliss like a hallucinogen. An abandonment from love can lead to feelings similar to substance withdrawal such as anxiety, depression, physical sickness, insomnia, hopelessness, and anger. Symptoms of “love addiction” include infatuation, self-destructive behaviors, excessive spending, change in appearance, and damaging reward seeking patterns. So, when does love go from a healthy connection to toxic attachment?
When in its natural and pure form love can be an amazing thing. Some say, “all you need is love.” However, when love is used to bury emotions or insecurities that is when danger begins to arise. Those with substance abuse disorder begin heavily drinking oftentimes to drown repressed feelings and memories. Alcohol becomes a way for people to shelter themselves from feeling. It does not take long before masking hurt with alcohol becomes disastrous.
You Are Enough
The same thing can be done with love. You cannot place the responsibility of your contentment in the reciprocation of affection from another person. While love is powerful, it will never be able to fix your problems for you. Sometimes when the impractical responses being sought are not provided by objects of our affections, they are met with outrage and resentment. Currently, there is no manual on how to treat behaviors stemming from devotion.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a technique used at Seabrook is most commonly used to address “love addiction.” CBT encourages patients to confront underlying issues leading to love addiction, crooked beliefs on love and relationships, and self-esteem. Oftentimes due to various experiences of abandonment, love addicts search for validation and affection from the wrong people.
It is vital to remember your love cannot fix anyone, and his or her love cannot fix you. Desperate pursuits of love will only lead to more hurt and heartbreak. Manipulation and abuse are not components of a healthy relationship. True intimacy is build on mutual trust, respect, and understanding. Never settle for anything less. Never let anyone convince you, you are worth anything less. Do not return to dangerous relationships.
AA’s Opinon on Love
“Love addiction” is not confined to only a significant other. Someone can be addicted to a friend or family member, a religious deity, or celebrity. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous was founded in 1976. The founder, a previous AA member based the program off of the original twelve-step outline. In SLAA, addiction is defined as “any emotional act no matter what its initial impulse may be which leads to a loss of control resulting in spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and moral destruction to oneself or others.”
Sobriety is defined by the group as remaining abstinent from an individual’s bottom lines. For example, bottoms lines are acts such as cheating on a significant other or attraction to an abusive partner. Each member identifies his or her bottom lines as part of the SLAA twelve-step program. The group believes that recovery is a journey of self-discovery and understanding. Members are encouraged to take care of themselves first, moving away from the idea of putting a significant other’s desires before their own.
Love addiction is more common than you may believe. Further, experts estimate 25% of college students suffer from love addiction. In short, sex and love addiction are two different things. Being addicted to love is similar to gambling addiction in the sense nothing has to be ingested for someone’s behavior to become erratic and for intrusive thoughts to invade their mind.
We Will Be Your Valentine
There are plenty of other ways to satisfy the reward seeking receptors in our brains. Seabrook would love to show you how. To illustrate, for 45 years Seabrook has been treating patients with a variety of addictions. Whether it be drug, alcohol, gambling, food, or love we are here to help. Our highly trained staff of therapists, nurses, and recovery coaches will guide you to loving yourself again. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please reach out. Our 24-hour admissions staff would love to take your call.