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Romantic Love Is an Addiction

Addicted to Love? Getting Over an Ex Is Like Withdrawal

If you've ever felt like you're going through withdrawal after a breakup, it's because you are. A new study in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology says getting over a breakup is akin to kicking an addiction.

Researchers asked jilted men and women to look at pictures of their heartbreakers, and immediately parts of the brain associated with emotional control, motivation and reward, cravings, attachment, and physical pain lit up.

Like most research findings, there's an evolutionary explanation. Brains evolved to heave all our romantic hopes onto one person for mating purposes, so losing that person is like losing life's grand prize: a mating partner. The results are considered insight into why the heartbroken are driven to crimes of passion like stalking and homicide. The good news? Now there's a scientific rationale for why we stalk exes on the Internet.

While it may be the first study to examine the brain of the newly brokenhearted, its advice is as old as love: "time seems to heal." Thanks, science!

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