Love Addiction: Causes, Effects, Signs & Treatment Options

Love Addiction

Can someone be addicted to the feeling of falling in love? It turns out that it happens to quite a lot of people in our society today.

Recognizing and Treating Love Addiction

When love is in a manageable amount and is motivated by good intentions, it is appropriate. But what occurs when love gets out of hand? Can you really be addicted to love? Some people indeed become hooked to love, despite how bizarre it may sound. Love in this context can include sex and activities that are related to sex but do not always imply sexual activity. Whatever the case, it can swiftly take over a person’s life and lead to considerable harm for both the person struggling with the addiction and their significant other.

How common is love addiction? Because love addictions may not manifest themselves the same way that other addictions may, it has historically been exceedingly difficult to weed out the data. Because of this, love addiction is frequently disregarded, despite the fact that it is a serious issue in our society. Continue reading to learn more about this preventable addiction that is harming people in communities all over the country.

Understanding Love Addiction

Every romantic relationship is stretched to the limit for a love addict. This indicates that, for them, the love and emotions are intense and thrilling at all times. In order to stay with this love interest and maintain that amazing “spark,” for example, the person with a love addiction may try their best to manage every scenario. They not only think exclusively about it, but they also can fall victim to modifying everything about themselves and their personality to better fit it. Love is just one element of a much bigger picture for people who are not addicted to it. However, to a love addict, love is made up of a variety of unique qualities and is the most significant thing in their world.

Some of the more common false beliefs and frameworks that a person struggling with love addiction may construct are:

  • Love entails continuously putting the relationship (i.e., the love) first. The love addict genuinely thinks that if they don’t have a laser-like focus on love, it might disappear.
  • Love must endure and never change. Anything that changes the nature of the love, such as a spouse acquiring a job with different hours or even the birth of a child, is perceived as a danger.
  • Trust is not a component of love. The love addict cannot trust the other person because they lack self-worth. Ironically, people with love addictions may cheat on their spouses frequently, even if they are terrified that their lovers would do the same to them.
  • Without the other person giving their all, love cannot exist. The love addict feels that the love isn’t being maintained if the partner isn’t obsessively dedicated in the same way. The addict then makes every effort to compensate excessively or begins to create a fantasy existence that differs from reality.
  • Love has every right, in the eyes of the love addict, to be toxic and demanding. People who are the targets of love addicts’ devotion frequently describe feeling “smothered.” This is closely connected to a parasitic outlook on romance and ties.
  • Love addicts experience what they perceive to be total enchantment when it occurs. They frequently go to whatever lengths to maintain a connection, even if it puts them in danger. In their minds, love is paramount and justifies every behavior.

The aforementioned characteristics and traits may seem alien or foreign to persons with a healthy and balanced outlook on relationships, life, and love but ironically enough, the above traits have more in common with stereotypical Western outlooks on “true love” as propagated by movies and various other types of entertainment media than most people would be comfortable admitting.

The Media’s Role in Love Addiction

Though it may not be entirely fair to blame media wholly for creating love addiction, the fact remains that it DOES, however, promote a culture and foster an environment where love is viewed in a very particular light. Consider all the Hollywood productions you’ve seen. Aren’t a lot of them predicated on the notion of meeting “the one” or experiencing a love where the main characters are meant to be together? Take a look at all the love stories where the only thing we learn is how much the pair thinks about one another throughout the day, every day. Is it surprising that our perceptions of love have grown so distorted?

Common Causes of Love Addiction

People who suffer from love addictions share certain traits, according to behavioral experts and therapists. Let’s examine some of the more common ones:

  • Love addicts are unable to see individuals for who they truly are. The adage “love is blind” may be true for some people, but a love addict knows better. They sincerely believe their “love” will be reciprocated without objective evidence to support this feeling. In fact, often, the love addict will merely invent a situation.
  • The “feel good” experience of being in love is what the person who is addicted to love is genuinely addicted to. Do you recall how you felt the first time you met someone you liked and went on a date with them? Those butterflies must have felt nice. The brain of a love addict is programmed to need extremely pleasant emotions more frequently than that of other individuals. They feel a constant need to have those experiences.
  • Love addicts may have inherited their actions from a parent who also struggled with the disease. Furthermore, a person with a love addiction might have had trouble forming a bond with either one or both of their parents. Because the relationship didn’t work out, he or she made the decision that future relationships wouldn’t be as bitter and rejected.
  • The early years of many addicts to love were marked by social rejection and, in many instances, emotional, physical, and/or sexual assault. This led to a cloudy concept of what love was at a very young age.
  • Some people who struggle with love addiction also struggle with drug, alcohol, or nicotine addiction. No matter the results, they are changing one behavior for another. When a patient seeks treatment for a love addiction, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors frequently discover that the patient has a history of other addictions.
    It’s imperative to start receiving love addiction treatment if you notice a pattern emerging in your own life or even the life of a loved one. The truth is that the results of love addiction can be disastrous without professional intervention and therapy.

The Effects of Love Addiction

Love addiction can have an extremely wide range of consequences and effects on the life of the person struggling with the condition. Read on to discover some of the most common ways they can be affected.

  • Risk of STD contraction: A romantic connection is what a love addict seeks, and often times they look to casual intimate encounters to make that connection. Unfortunately, individuals run the risk of contracting an STD like syphilis, chlamydia, or herpes if they do not take the right precautions. Then, other partners or even kids could contract an STD through sexual contact.
  • Loss of relationships: Both sexual and familial ties might fall under this category. People with love addictions are labeled as “obsessive” or “clingy.” These characteristics are frequently disliked and may annoy people.
  • Employment endangerment: If you’re constantly thinking about your romantic interests, it’s quite challenging to maintain a career. Love addicts can mask their addictions for a while, but eventually, they surface and cost them their jobs.
  • Legal consequences: Love addicts risk being slapped with punishment and criminal charges when they engage in unlawful activities like stalking. This can not only harm their prospects of landing future jobs, but it can also destroy their self-esteem.
  • Physical symptoms: Addiction to love can be difficult, especially if you feel that you are responsible for maintaining a relationship. High levels of stress can result in hypertension, which raises the risk of stroke and other health issues.
  • Mental health issues: Depression may develop when a person who is addicted to love is left without that special someone or without being reciprocated. Suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide may result from depression if it becomes serious enough.

These side effects can be debilitating, which is why you should choose a treatment program to overcome this particular condition. Never attempt to go it alone. When you’re dealing with a professional who is aware of how to overcome love addiction, the success rates are always higher.

Signs and Symptoms of Love Addiction

Here is a list of some of the symptoms that most love addicts exhibit. Use this list as a general and very loose guide to determine objectively whether you ought to make a call to a professional to get assistance and support.

  • You’ve always been obsessed with love. You were obsessed with all love stories, whether they were in books, TV shows, or music, and wished your own were one of them.
  • You think that if someone loved you, it would make you perfectly content and complete in every way.
  • Instead of waiting for someone else to come along, you frequently convince yourself to love other people. Being without love is a terrifying thought, but loving the wrong person is much scarier.
  • Your time is spent daydreaming about previous romances. You may have even begun reaching out to your ex-lovers to see if you can rekindle the flame.
  • You can’t handle the thought of being alone, so you keep returning to your ex-partners. On the other hand, after a breakup, you frequently enter into long-term partnerships with the first person you date.
  • You anticipate that the person you love will make you feel valued and appreciated. If not, you experience deeply intense feelings of defeat and loss.
  • After the first few months, you find it difficult to maintain relationships, even though you continue with them until you discover someone new.
  • You may have had several affairs in the past and frequently find yourself falling in love with relative strangers.
  • Sex and love may be inextricably linked. However, for you, both of them appear to be the same, with next to no nuance or differentiation.
  • You attract partners who aren’t emotionally available to you or who aren’t interested in you. This makes you more irritated and drives you to cling to them for any indication of love.
  • In order to focus on your romance, you distance yourself from everyone in your life.

There is good news, though. The truth is that you will have many chances to overcome love addiction using professional intervention and preventative strategies.

Intervention and Treatment of Love Addiction

Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards eventually dealing with love addiction, just like with any other addiction. You are setting yourself up to fail at rehab if you can’t acknowledge that you might be addicted to love. Admitting the issue is crucial, despite the awkwardness and potential shame it may first create.

The next smart move is to seek assistance through a treatment program. If you’re wondering how much therapy for love addiction can set you back, the cost varies. There are great outpatient and inpatient clinics for treating love addiction. Your insurance company might even be able to pay for some of your treatments, which would lower your out-of-pocket costs. Whatever you have to spend on treatment, think of it as an investment in your long-term happiness.

You will experience a variety of counseling settings throughout your treatment, including individual and group therapy sessions, music therapy, art therapy, and more. Getting to the bottom of your love addiction is the goal of treatment. You’ll undoubtedly discover things about yourself that you either never knew or were unable to express. As your treatment goes forward, journaling can be really beneficial.

However, a word of caution: Resist the urge to believe that your love addiction will vanish on its own. No addiction goes away. You’ll have to exert control over it. However, you can successfully conquer it if you have the correct tools.

Preventing Love Addiction Relapse

An addiction to love takes time to overcome, much like other addictions. You might even relapse during or after treatment. It’s imperative to return to rehab or treatment right away if this occurs. Although relapsing is not unusual, it is a sign that you still need support and help. Don’t view a relapse as a bad thing; it may provide you with possibilities and new perspectives.

Attending an outpatient therapy group fashioned like an AA meeting is another method to help yourself against relapsing. In a setting of calm understanding under the direction of a skilled professional, you can communicate your situation with confidence. Many love addicts believe that they cannot totally recover without outpatient therapy groups.

Get Help for Love Addiction Today

At Addiction Experts, our team of experienced professionals is standing by to help get you started with your recovery journey. Whether you need guidance and support for love addiction or virtually any other type of addiction, we can help. Don’t hesitate; get control of your life again. Give us a call today!

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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