Quitting And Handling Withdrawal
You Need Others To Feel Complete
Love addicts need others to feel whole and secure.
Anxiety occurs whenever this arrangement is threatened.
Love addicts demand unconditional love, yet they wont love themselves unconditionally.
They overlook their ability to affirm themselves and hold onto the belief that someone else will do it for them.
As a result, their self-esteem becomes dependent on other peoples validation.
I Built Healthy Relationships With Other Females
One morning as I sat in my psychiatrists office at treatment, he told me that one of the best ways to measure the health of a woman was to look at her relationships with other females. In that moment, 30 days sober from substances and still active in my love addiction, I had no healthy relationships with females.
It wasnt that I never had strong friendships with females, because I did. However, men brought on the familiar rush of heightened euphoria and increased dopamine levels, which was eerily similar to an amphetamine high. I had to back away from that compulsion and surround myself with females. I moved into an all-female sober living home and lived there for a year. I stopped hanging around men and started to build healthy relationships with females. At this point in my love addiction, it was important for me to avoid temptation and start to understand the power of female support and friendship.
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I Educated Myself On Love Addiction To Understand My Own Behaviors
I have always been a reader, a knowledge-seeker, the curious type the one who asks a thousand questions and wants to know the answers for all of it. I started buying every book I could that dealt with love addiction. I wanted to grasp the concept of what love addiction was and what love addiction was not. I began to chase answers and solutions.
I developed an understanding of why I was reacting this way to men and why I was consumed by an unhealthy addiction to love. I also found a therapist who specialized in sex and love addiction and began talking more about my past in an effort to overcome both my chemical addiction and my love addiction. I threw the book at it. I started doing the work that would soon change my entire relationship with myself and others, for the better.
Constantly Looking For A Romantic Relationship
With this day and age of being able to swipe on apps to find your next soul mate, its a field day for some love addicts. Constantly looking for a relationship and even doing that while currently in one, is a trait of a love addict.
The hunt of the chase and the adrenaline of looking keeps a love addict hooked. Focusing on other people and who the next person in their life will be can take away the real-life issues and emotions that the love addict might be avoiding.
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The Broad View: Love As Addiction
There is a broader understanding of addiction that has been gaining steam in recent years. As two of us have argued, addiction should be considered to be a spectrum of motivation that emerges from the repeated application of any type of reward, including drug rewards, gambling rewards, food rewards, and sexual rewards . These appetite-motivations arise in response to reward conditioning, and are, indeed, the evolved mechanism by which we humans and other animals learn to behave in survival- and reproduction-enhancing ways. At the same time, such appetites do not always lead directly to these evolutionary outcomes, especially in humans, and even more so in the modern environment we have created for ourselves . Our appetite for food, for example, is not strictly genetically controlled: we are weaned onto it during gestation, and it can wax and wane over the course of our lives, often in ways that run contrary to our real nutritive needs . By the same token, we may develop appetites for any rewarding behavior, and these appetites may exceed or fall beneath a level that suits our biological needs, our conscious values, or our personal preferences.
Can You Recover From Love Addiction
Carney said: “Love addiction is treatable.” But as with battling any addiction, the process for overcoming love addiction can be extremely challenging. “The individual may start to experience withdrawal symptoms and they come face to face with unresolved childhood trauma,” she noted.
Since the causes and conditions of love addiction can vary by person, in order for treatment to be effective “it must be bespoke and treat all aspects of the individual” and “the issues underpinning their addiction must be treated comprehensively” with professional help, Carney said.
Recovery from love addiction requires “temporary abstinence from romantic relationships,” which can sometimes cause withdrawal symptoms, Ferretti said.
Love addicts can benefit from therapy to help develop coping skills for processing negative emotions and tolerating uncomfortable feelings as well as maintaining healthy boundaries and unpacking trauma from the past, he advised.
Engaging in individual activities, focusing on self-care, purpose and fulfilment outside of a romantic relationship generates self-worth, he added.
Kilmer also advised finding a support group such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous or a therapist who has expertise in this area.
Durvasula said: “It’s hard and a lifelong commitment.” Recovering from an addiction to love can entail the following, according to the psychologist:
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Using Sex Or Seduction To Keep Someone
This can come from maladaptive behaviors and growing up in a dysfunctional childhood home. Some people might not have been taught how to cope with emotions or might have been taught early on that they are not good enough and only good enough for sex, so they use this as a tool to keep someone. Sex will also be used as a way to escape or to seek validation from their partner.
If their partner can show that they are still attracted to them sexually and they can get them to have sex, then the love addict can feel a sense of relief. However this is typically followed by a sense of shame and guilt because the real emotions have not been dealt with, only pushed down, and it will cause the addict to continue the spiral.
Where Does Withdrawal Come In
In terms of substance use, withdrawal can happen when you stop using a substance after using it for some time. Regular use can alter brain and body processes, so quitting suddenly can lead tovarying physical and emotional symptoms, depending on the substance.
But can you experience withdrawal symptoms from a person or relationship?
It may be possible. Some research suggests romantic love could involve a withdrawal-like experience.
This love addiction withdrawal might involve:
- persistent crying or tearfulness
- lack of energy and fatigue
- sleeping very little or much more than usual
- changes in appetite
- a deep desire, or craving, to connect with the person you love
- frustration, worry, or tension when youre apart
- intense feelings of grief or loss
- irritability, anxiety, and other changes in mood
Of course, if you cant actually become addicted to love, it stands to reason you also cant go through withdrawal from love addiction.
Consider, though, that love involves risks: rejection, unrequited love, and heartbreak, among others. Most people eventually face some distress as a natural consequence of falling in love.
Rather than describing the pain you feel as withdrawal from a person, it might help to frame it in terms of grief, suggests Dr. Patrick Cheatham, a psychologist in Portland, Oregon.
Some losses, he adds, may feel too immense to ever fully comprehend. When coming to terms with loss or failed love proves challenging, this distress might linger.
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You Believe That You Receive Love Or Validation Only If You Earn It
This root belief comes from Im unlovable, and, Im not enough.
Such belief might help you get high grades and earn promotions at work, but it also prevents you from enjoying healthy romantic relationships.
This belief is a sign that youre living with an extra layer of shame, judgment, and lack of acceptance of self, especially when it comes to your weaknesses and imperfections.
‘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.”
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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.
Make The Decision To Move Out Of Addiction
Once you acknowledge your addictive behaviors in your relationships, decide whether to maintain the status quo or to work toward change.
Its important to make this decision and keep reminding yourself of why you want to change as you move out of addiction. You may expect things to get worse before they get better, such as experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These are signs that your process is in motion.
If you find yourself resisting change, answer the following question, What do I get from my addictive love?
Perhaps you gain feelings of security, a sense of belonging, comfort, or a meaning in your life.
Then write down how your addictive love is hurting you and compare the pros and the cons. Are the benefits worth it? Try to be honest with your answers.
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Love Addiction And Its Symptoms
Love addiction is a type of behavioral addiction triggered by the feeling of being in love. Love addiction is a lot like other addictions where a person obsessively and compulsively tries to relieve or medicate the deep pain in their life with feeling loved. In fact, the feelings of a love addict are just as false as the high a drug addict feels. The intense physical feelings of euphoria you have when youre in love produce effects similar to using addictive substances. Infatuation creates a high, which can crash or dissipate quickly. Someone addicted to love becomes fixated on chasing that feeling, so they develop an unhealthy focus on the object of their affection.
Have you experienced these symptoms of love addiction?
While romantic love addiction is most common, you can also have intense cravings for attention and affection from familial or friend relationships. However it affects you, it is important to be aware of love addiction to avoid developing unhealthy relationship patterns.
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:
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Qualities Of A Love Addict:
- An exaggerated sense of responsibility for others actions
- A tendency to do more than necessary on a regular basis
- A tendency to become hurt when people dont recognize their efforts
- An unhealthy dependence on relationships
- An extreme need for approval and recognition
- Feeling guilt when being assertive
- A compelling need for control
- A lack of trust in self and/or others
- Fear of being abandoned or alone
- Difficulty identifying feelings
- Problems with intimacy/boundaries
- Difficulty making decisions
Love addiction is often rooted in a persons childhood treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns.
You Prioritize The Needs Of Others Before Your Own
You tend to find yourself bending over backward for your relationship, but you end up feeling unappreciated and starved for more love.
Your partners dont seem to be as invested in the relationship as you are.
Youve always felt rejected for expressing your needs or even having them, and you adapted by prioritizing other peoples needs before your own because deep down inside, you dont feel that you are worthy of having your needs met.
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Whats The Difference Between Impulsive And Compulsive Shopping
Impulsive and compulsive buying are terms that often get confused for each other. On the surface, they may seem similar, but they are very different in their cause, outcome and frequency.
Impulsive shopping is defined as the sudden urge to make an unplanned purchase. Its very common and nearly everyone has made an impulse purchase at some point in their life.
For example: Youre in the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner. You see that your favorite ice cream is on sale. Even though its not on your shopping list, you suddenly get the urge to buy it.
Buying the ice cream was unplanned. As soon as you saw it in the store, youve succumbed to an urge in the moment, then purchased the ice cream.
On the other hand, compulsive shopping is planning to shop in order to relieve an uncomfortable tension. For these individuals, shopping can also be used as a way to escape negative feelings, such as anxiety, depression, anger, self-critical thoughts or boredom.
Compulsive shoppers continue this repetition of behavior despite its adverse consequences, such as accumulating credit card debt, rocky relationships due to shopping too much, or feelings of guilt due to overspending. Many compulsive shoppers also find themselves excessively preoccupied with shopping and their poor impulse control when it comes to shopping.
Causes Of A Sex Or Love Addiction
As with all addictions, sex and love addictions can affect anyone. Nevertheless, some people are more predisposed to developing an addiction than others. Certain contributing factors can mean a person is more at risk of developing an addiction. Primrose Lodge treat the root causes of an individuals addiction through medical and therapeutic means in order to achieve a full and permanent recovery.
The following factors can contribute to an individual being at higher risk of developing a sex or love addiction:
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What Is Obsessive Love Addiction
Obsessive love addiction, also called obsessive love disorder is when someone has obsessive, intrusive thoughts about someone or something that can cause areas of their life to be unmanageable. Someone experiencing this is usually pretty consumed with thoughts about someone else, to the point where they will forget or just disregard their own self-care and health. Their mind is on a constant loop and stuck on the person and not at the moment.
This can come out in extreme jealousy. Not being able to let their partner talk to other people without feeling like they are going to cheat or be unfaithful in any way. It can also trigger in them a feeling of needing to protect their partner and possessive thoughts. Thinking that a person is theirs.
This is also something where people struggling with this do not take rejection well and are in constant need of reassurance. Attempting to monitor and control the person of their interests actions and not able to maintain their relationships with their friends and family because their focus is really only on the object of their affection. They struggle with understanding chemistry. Or struggle with understanding lust vs love.
Typically when it is this extreme, there are other mental health issues happening as well such as borderline personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you feel like you might be struggling with this, talk to a therapist. There is a help to manage it and take control back with your life.