Is love a mental disorder?

When a person falls in love, very often it consumes them and makes them irrational and spontaneous. It can even cause depression that is known as love-sickness when they are apart from the person they love, and this can cause sleep deprivation and loss of appetite. Scientists who have studied the chemical changes in the brain of people who’ve recently fallen in love have compared it to the state of euphoria that you experience from taking amphetamines, and symptoms similar to obsessive compulsive disorders.

Serotonin, which is known as the ‘happy chemical’ that’s responsible for your wellbeing is lowered when in love, just like someone suffering with a mental disorder like depression, or anxiety. Not knowing the whereabouts of your partner can invoke negative emotions like jealousy, anxiety and can make a normally sensible person take risks and make illogical decisions, and your cognitive abilities are significantly affected.

“One is very crazy when in love” – Sigmund Freud

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) is a condition where one partner becomes obsessive and becomes controlling of them as though they were a possession rather than a life partner. This condition makes the person irrational as they have an overwhelming love and desire for their partner, or someone they love even if the love isn’t returned. When sufferers of OLD face rejection they can become tormentors and bombard the other person with texts, emails and phone calls.

When love dies and couples separate often hatred can be as intense as the initial love between partners. I can attest to this as I’m personally going through a divorce, and my wife has become quite despicable and I’m not far from the feeling of hatred as she’s made my life extremely difficult over the last few months. For someone to be deeply in love and then to reach a form of resentment for the person can only be described as a form of mental impairment. Being in love is akin to an addiction and just like taking addictive drugs, love induces the release of Dopamine in the brain. Perception becomes distorted and you tend to see only the good and avoid the warning signs, which gives the phrase ‘love is blind’ some credibility. As well as Dopamine, the brain also releases the neurochemicals, Phenylethylamine and Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is responsible for the production of adrenaline which leads to physical attributes like sweaty palms, racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, and Phenylethylamine gives you the feelings of euphoria, joy and excitement by increasing the amount of Dopamine produced by the brain.

If the feeling of love becomes too intense a person can develop erotomania, which is a form of delusional disorder where someone believes that someone is in love with them when they’re not, and might not even know the person exists. Many people who suffer from erotomania also suffer from bipolar or schizophrenia, and their mind makes them believe that the person they desire is also infatuated with them.

“Omnis amans amens ~ Every lover is crazy” – Roman proverb

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