Healthy Love Versus Addictive Love
Whether or not you believe love addiction is real, thinking of a toxic relationship as an addiction can be useful to someone dealing with the repercussions of an unhealthy partnership. The bottom line is this: an unhealthy relationship tends to involve a search for a dopamine rush and involves power and control, said Steven Sussman, a professor of preventive medicine, psychology and social work at the University of Southern California.
Those experiencing love addiction have the behavioral pattern of addiction, said Dr. Fisher. She explained that this may manifest in mood swings from despair to euphoria and a willingness to put up with abuse. Additionally their personalities may shift when theyre addicted, leading to lifestyle changes or a tendency to distort reality.
Houston-based literacy specialist, Synthia Smith, said she succumbed to those feelings with her now ex-boyfriend. The prospect of living my life without him was unbearable I would be emotionally dead, she remembered.
So great was this fear that she stayed in the relationship for two and a half years, despite a fast-growing litany of warning signs, such as the time she discovered his profile on the dating website Plenty of Fish. After confronting him, he claimed that he was there to network for his business and shamed her for bringing it up before exploding in rage.
Delete Apps And Websites
There are several online websites and apps that allow you to send sexts while staying anonymous. It encourages people with lower self-esteem and distorted body images to create a fantasy world where they can send or receive pictures without revealing their identity. Addiction to sexting can be reduced by simply deleting such apps from your mobile devices and avoiding such websites for good.
I Stayed Single For The First Year Of My Sobriety
I used to believe that having a partner made me a complete person. I attached myself to a partner in an attempt to feel whole. To break this pattern, I stayed single for the first year of my sobriety. Schaeffer describes addictive love as an attempt to satisfy our developmental hunger for security, sensation, power, belonging, and meaning. I had to find that type of satisfaction within myself. I could not find it in another person. I began to welcome loneliness as a friend, and eventually, I stopped feeling so lonely even when I was alone.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Facebook So Addictive
Signs Of Codependency While Loving An Addict
The easiest way to understand codependency is to look at specific examples of it. Codependency looks like:
- Making excuses or lying for a loved ones bad behavior
- Neglecting ones own needs to care for the needs of someone else who should be able to provide for themselves
- Taking responsibility for a loved ones bad behavior
- Investing a lot of time and energy into taking care of someone with a drug or alcohol problem who should be taking care of themselves and is refusing treatment
There are also behavioral and emotional symptoms that indicate codependency. These include:
If you relate to these behaviors and emotions, you may be struggling with codependency.
‘i Was Addicted To Love’
Article provided by NHS Choices
Broadcaster and journalist Clare Catford explains how love addiction affected her life, and talks about the treatment she received.
“I now realise that I’ve been addictive from a very early age. I had all the ‘normal’ obsessions with pop stars, then I developed huge crushes on boys and obsessed about them constantly.
“When I had a boyfriend, the relationship dominated my life. I would spend hours trying on 10 different outfits, and I wouldn’t eat for several days so that I would be ‘thin enough’.
“I married young because I believed love would take the pain away. I thought he was the solution to all my problems, the person who would rescue me from myself.”
Recommended Reading: What Do Addiction Counselors Do
Love Addiction And Well
There are three main theories of well-beingor classes of theoriesdiscussed throughout the literature . How one relates love addiction to well-being, and therefore to treatment, will depend upon the theory of well-being one finds most convincing.
The first class of theories concerning well-being are hedonistic theories, which are defined in terms of mental states. The simplest account of this type of view is that happiness, or pleasure is the only intrinsic good, whereas unhappiness or pain is the only intrinsic bad. More complex hedonistic views include a greater plurality of states of mind as possibly contributing to well being: for example, Freud is reputed to have refused analgesia when dying of canceralthough he was in great physical painon the grounds that he preferred to be able to think clearly in a state of torment than foggedly in a state of drug-induced comfort .
Yet however one construes this hedonistic mental-state view, it is clearly possible that a person could prefer to exist in a rapturous state of love, even though it might yield a number of adverse consequences in other areas of her life, due to its irrefutably high, intrinsic hedonic value. Indeed, in Western societies, being in love is widely considered to be an extremely valuable state, and possibly constitutive of a good life all on its own. This notion is captured in the ideal of dying for love with the implication that such a love might even be the very meaning of life.
Characteristics Of Sex And Love Addiction
It can be difficult to admit that you or a loved one are suffering from a sex or love addiction and need help. Sex and love addiction is a growing problem and causes the sufferer to feel worthless, depressed and anxious. Lets looks at the characteristics, that may help you to decide if you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to sex or love that requires professional treatment in order to overcome:
Don’t Miss: Why Is Smoking Weed So Addictive
Getting In The Right Mindset
Treatment For Love Addiction
Treatment for love addiction begins with an acknowledgement of the problem and willingness to work through it. From there, it is important to determine based on need and personal preferences the best type of treatment. Current approaches toward treatment include outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient , residential treatment, and support groups.
Also Check: What Does Rehab Do For Drug Addicts
Tests Performed By Professionals
It is recommended with any condition to be assessed by a professional. Professionals are trained to conduct such assessments and diagnose. Further, the tools they use are evidence-based through stringent research processes. Although there is no specific assessment for love addiction, there are various tools professionals may use to assess symptoms as well as pathological love.
Some of these tools may include the Adapted Relationship Assessment Scale , the Relationship Assessment Scale , the Love Attitudes Scale , Adult Attachment Types, Beck Depression Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory , Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, et cetera.10
You Have A Victim Mentality
This might sound like: “He told me I was the ‘love of his life.’ How could he treat me so badly?” Or, “How could he be so mean?” Or, “I never get the good guys.”
The Addictive Brain is very sneaky with these three. It gets our general anxiety ramped up the way drug addicts feel anxious when they need a fix and the only way to briefly relieve the anxiety is to connect with our love addiction object.
The antidote to Fear, Ego, and Victim Mentality: Mentally walk yourself through the process of the aftermath of giving into these triggers.
I have a client that wants desperately to break free from her guy and is the one who initiated the breakup, based on his history of using her and cheating on her. She occasionally relapses and texts him due to fear shell be alone forever the ego that wants to know if hes suffering too and victim mentality that really, really needs him to apologize for his cruel behavior, hopefully on his knees in abject misery.
So I walked her through the process of relapse. We discovered that she feels general anxiety building up when she hasnt communicated with her object of love addiction for a day or two. The anxiety becomes acute, so she texts or calls, even though she intellectually doesnt want to.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Nasal Spray Addiction
Can You Be Addicted To Someone Sexually Yes
One of the most searched questions on the internet is can you be addicted to someone sexually? Yes, you can! Especially in addictive relationships, sexual addiction becomes a major issue as often times you can feel that the only attention that you might get from your partner would be from sex. This makes you desperate and you try to do anything and everything you can to keep your partners attention, including possibly engaging in activities that you might not be comfortable with. This ultimately serves as one of the major signs of being addicted to a person.
What Is Love Addiction
Love addition can best be defined as a compulsive, obsessive and intense longing for someone, even when that person may be harmful or toxic to you. Your need is so over-powering that you build up a tolerance to the toxicity of the relationship. Being separated from that person causes intense suffering and withdrawal symptoms. Your cravings are so intoxicating that you are prepared to sacrifice everything, even if that means self-destruction.
In his book Love and Addiction, psychologist Stanton Peele says that being in love has just as much to do with addiction, as substance abuse does. He believes that love addiction is probably the most common, but least recognized, type of addiction.
This is hardly surprising given the tide of feel-good chemicals that are released when we fall in love. MRI scans have been used to demonstrate that both intense love and habit-forming narcotics, cause the same part of the brain to be activated. This region of the brain also happens to be connected to obsessive-compulsive disorders. In other words, you start to crave the person you desire, in the same way as you would any other type of addictive material. Over a period of time, most people will recover from this. Others, however, become dangerously obsessive and delusional.
Recommended Reading: De Addiction Centre In Kerala
What Is Love Addiction Really
Love addiction is painful, because at the core it is filling a void caused by a lack of nurturing and attention at a young age.
Its an unhealthy attachment to people, romance or sex to heal past trauma, get unmet needs fulfilled, avoid fear or emotional pain, fill our loneliness and maintain balance.
You Can’t Stop Thinking About The Other Person To An Obsessive Degree
When love addiction is portrayed on TV shows like “You” and “Love,” it oftentimes takes the form of the obsessive love addict. Love addicts who act out their addiction in obsession will fixate on the person they are addicted to, which can manifest in some dangerous behavior
“A lot of these abusive men are love addicts with mental disorders,” Whetstone said. “They stalk, they chase down, they threaten. They can be very dangerous.”
You May Like: How To Battle Drug Addiction
If You Are Addicted To Love You Arent Alone
Love addiction is actually quite common. However, most people do not want to admit that they are, or dont realize that they are until they have lost themselves.
Stanton Peele said it best We often say love when we really mean and are acting out, an addiction a sterile, ingrown dependency relationship, with another person serving as the object of our need for security.
Intense romance can often come with symptoms resembling addiction euphoria, craving, dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. More importantly, brain scans have shown that it can be linked to drug-addiction-like activity in the brains reward centers.
This behavioral pattern can be traced back to ones childhood those who had parents that were emotionally unavailable may have triggered feelings of dependence, which drove them to become co-dependent on their partners.
I was an only child that was raised by a doting, single mother. I turned that same kind of hyperfocused attention towards my ex-partners. Their approval meant everything to me, just like it did with my mother. However, the constant affection and attention that I gave to my partners not only made them push me away, but they also took me for granted.
I was hooked on messy love.
I thought that if I hung in there one last time and gave all of my love, understanding, and support, that I would get the love that I desired most. Not surprisingly, I never did. I stopped believing in myself.
How To Overcome Love Addiction And Get Away From Its Creeping Vines How Do You Do It For Real
Like any other substance addiction, overcoming love addiction is about recognizing and changing patterns.
Here are the things that you have to do to change your behaviour and lifestyle.
1. Admit that you need help. You are already here, so thats great. The first step to learn how to overcome love addiction issues, is knowing what youre up against. Sometimes, its a big part of you that youre gonna be going head to head with.
2. Recognise that the object of your desires is only human. No matter how many times you alluded otherwise.
3. Realise that you have your flaws as well, particularly your thinking. Saying I cant live without you because I do not want to be lonely and then investing time in pursuing this one or any another relationship isnt the same as being in love. One of the biggest issues, when it comes to how to overcome love addiction, is admitting what drives that addiction- loneliness, a need for approval, self-validation, or something else.
4. Recognise that you are forever pursuing the others validation. Validation should come from within, not from anyone else.
5. Remember the bad times. Whenever there is any threat of the relationship being lost, all the best memories come flooding back, but the terrible ones seem to be lost. You really wanna know how to overcome love addiction? Remember all the bad stuff, all of it.
8. Many fish in the ocean.
Also Check: How To Beat Video Game Addiction
Learn About Nj Intervention
Loving an addict isnt easy. Not only do you have to deal with your loved ones drug and alcohol use, but you also end up taking the brunt of their bad behaviors. Addiction is a painful and far-reaching disease that affects everyone who gets involved with the addicted individual. Friends and family members often change their own behaviors in an attempt to help their addicted loved ones stay safe. However, these behaviors arent always healthy for either party involved. One of the most common behavioral conditions that occur in people who love addicts is codependency.
If you love an addict and have ever been told you are codependent, you probably are. Codependency is extremely common in relationships affected by addiction, but it only allows the addicted individual to continue using substances without consequence. The best way to begin convincing your loved one to get help is to stop being codependent in the first place.
Therapies For Love Addiction
Often times, there is an underlying shame and void that needs healing and awareness. Additionally, obsessiveness and anxiety can occur that love addicts cannot fix alone. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help bring awareness to the love addict as they become mindful of their thoughts. Meditation can slow the feeling of anxiety and bring compassion to the individual suffering.
In cases where anxiety exists, meditation and cultivating self-love can work wonders to bring the focus back to the individual suffering, while allowing them to build self-worth and fill the void. For trauma, therapists in inpatient rehab facilities can both help provide helpful insight, while recognizing unhealthy patterns from childhood or adulthood that can impact diagnosing unhealthy patterns or behavior. Lastly, useful medications for depression or anxiety can benefit the individual.
Top 10 Rehab Questions
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Weed Addiction