Falling in love is one of the most beautiful things, making your heart go pitter-patter. It just redesigns your world with the most pleasing colors. Food tastes so much better and you simply can’t wipe that silly grin off your face. But, an unexpected breakup may cause you considerable mental distress. It is very hard to overcome the feeling of rejection, especially when you are still in love with the person. Blame it on your brain. Even though you are forced by everyone to get over it, your brain works in a different way. And that’s why you take the time to get back to your normal self. Do you know these technicalities of love, like what happens in the brain when you are in love or when you experience a breakup? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Here is how your brain reacts to the ups and downs of love.
Getting Struck By Cupid’s Arrow…
As you get struck by cupid’s arrow, your brain will start working in a different way. The release of chemicals such as dopamine creates feelings of euphoria. Love stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. There will be an increased activity in areas of the brain associated with reward and sex. Thus, the chemicals linked with the reward circuit will be all over your brain. This is the reason for your sweaty palms, passionate feeling, and flushed cheeks when you see your love.
However, in the initial stages of your romance, levels of the stress hormone cortisol will be high. The stress factor comes in because you are not sure what happens in the relationship. When cortisol levels rise, levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin comes down. Low levels of serotonin kicks in obsessive-compulsive behaviors. As you fall in love deeply with him/her, stress disappears and high levels of dopamine will be released, thus, keeping the brain’s reward system activated always.
Yes, Rejection Really Hurts
You go through a roller coaster of emotions after your lover walks out of your life. It hurts a lot when you hear ‘it’s over’ from him or her. Yes, real pain kicks in. If you feel this pain after a rejection, it is because of your brain activity. An unwanted breakup can cause physical pain, according to brain scans of those who had gone through such a phase. Physical pain and intense feelings of rejection hurt in the same way.1
The researchers at Columbia University scanned brain activity of 40 people who experienced an unwanted romantic break-up in the previous six months. During the research, their brain reactions to the photo of the person they romantically loved and that of a friend were observed. Along with this, they also compared their response when exposed to pain. It was found that the feelings of rejection activated regions of the brain that are linked with physical pain sensation. The same part of the brain lit up when they saw their former partner’s picture and experienced physical pain. But the image of their friend did not light up the same area.
And A Breakup Is Like Quitting Drugs
Do you crave for your love even after being dumped by him/her? Do you still want to be near the other person? That is why scientists say that getting over a lost lover is like quitting drugs. Love is a positive addiction. When your love goes wrong, you will have symptoms like cravings and dependence, just like drug withdrawal. The same areas of the brain that are active in the brains of cocaine addicts are active in heartbroken people. Not convinced? Here is the research.
A research studied the brain activity of young adults who had experienced a breakup. All of them were still in love with their former partner, trying to text or call them. They were asked to look at the photographs of their ex-lovers. The areas that are parts of the brain’s reward/motivation system were activated during this exercise. These regions are rich with dopamine, the so-called feel-good neurotransmitter. As you know, dopamine is connected to both drug addiction and the early, obsessive stages of love. That is why even after being dumped, you end up spending much of the day thinking about your former lover.
|↑1||New Study Underscores Link Between Physical Pain and Social Rejection. Colombia University.|