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When Love Crosses the Line into Addiction
Who doesn’t love the rush of being in love? It is a universally enjoyed experience, especially in those early, heady days of a new relationship. The problem for some, however, is that they may become addicted to chasing those intense emotions, even when it leads to negative consequences. In these cases, authentic love is rarely experienced. Instead, the superficial trappings of the semblance of love are chased over and over in a constant quest for the euphoric rush of new love.
When someone has a love addiction, as in most addictions, they may be trying to fill a void in their life. The intense craving for the feelings associated with romantic love, especially when these encounters rarely evolve beyond the early attraction and lust experienced at the outset, may serve to bolster the love addicted individual’s feelings of self-worth, but only temporarily. Eventually, disappointment, regret, and other negative consequences set in and the quest to experience it again with a new partner commences. For this specific type of addiction there are love addiction treatment centers that can offer treatment for this difficult condition.
Symptoms of Love Addiction
The sensations that accompany new love release brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, which stimulate the reward center of the brain. The intense feelings of excitement and pleasure that result motivate the individual to continue seeking those sensations. Someone with a love addiction will continue to search for sources of this pleasure by continually seeking new exciting romantic connections. It becomes a disorder when the repeated start-and-stop behaviors associated with constant pleasure seeking start causing negative consequences in the individual’s life, yet they continue to repeat the behaviors anyway.
Signs of love addiction may include the following behaviors and symptoms:
- Starting relationships with emotionally unavailable people
- Feeling desperation and lonely when not in a relationship
- Difficulty being alone
- Constant craving and searching for new partners
- Ongoing cycle of short-term romantic relationships
- Unhappy when in a romantic relationship
- Unable to maintain a relationship past the initial newness wears off
- Feeling comfortable in abusive or emotionally empty relationships
- Avoiding friends and family to spend time seeking romance
- Using sex and seduction to hook a partner
- Obsessed with seeking new partners
- Confusing lust with love
While many relationships may have some of these elements, the love addict will continually exhibit these signs and repeat the dysfunctional behaviors regardless of the consequences.
Treatment for Love Addiction
Love addiction treatment centers can be in the form of either an inpatient or outpatient program, with the severity of the addiction determining which setting is most appropriate. An inpatient program can provide a respite from the love seeking behaviors for up to three months, allowing time for the therapy to take root. While residing at the residential facility, individuals will participate in ongoing psychotherapy—using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—in both individual and group formats, addiction education, life skills training, and experiential therapies that help promote useful insights.
Outpatient centers allow the individual to remain at home while in the program, with the intensive outpatient programs offering the highest level of care. Outpatient programs also offer CBT talk therapy, as well as group therapy and usually a 12-step or non 12 step or similar program, such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).
Treatment for love addiction can lead to a lasting, long-term recovery from the disorder. Success relies on the individual’s commitment to utilizing the tools and coping skills taught during treatment and continuing participation in a recovery group.
Seeking Help at Love Addiction Treatment Center
The Treatment Specialist will connect you with a treatment center for quality help and recovery option. Call to speak to a Treatment Specialist for an initial assessment, or insurance benefit review at (866) 644-7911.