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Breakups are like Cocaine Withdrawl

Ever wonder why you feel like you just can’t kick the obsession you have with your Ex? Well, as it turns out, research shows that the brain of a person dealing with a break up actually shows similar chemical signatures to those going through cocaine withdrawal.

According to Dr. Lucy Brown, clinical professor of neurology, “Romantic love, under both happy and unhappy circumstances, may be a ‘natural addiction.’”

In fact, when research subjects were shown photos of their Ex, the same pleasure zones associated with cocaine use lit up. However, at the same time, the areas of the the brain associated with pain and physical discomfort also lit up.

So what does this all mean? Well, for one we can see why it’s so hard for us to get over our Exes, and at the same time we can see why we keep going back and reliving our romantic history by looking at photos over and over. In short, when we look at a photo of our Ex we get an immediate shot of pleasure followed by regret and depression. This is the same as drug addiction and withdrawal.

So what does this do to our efforts to get over our Exes? If we consistently get “a fix” by looking at photos, we actually create a chemical addiction that stops us from obtaining the closure we need. This study gives us insight into why, when dealing with breakups, we engage in such self-destructive behaviors such as physical and Facebook stalking, as well as late night texts and phone calls to our Exes.

We sit there and tell ourselves that we’re not going to do it. We know better, but we can’t seem to stop. If looking at photos of our Ex actually puts us in the same category as those getting dealing with a cocaine addiction, how can we be expected to do this on our own?

Don’t get down on yourself for obsessing over your Ex. This research shows that (at least in part) there are chemical factors at play here. HOWEVER, like an addiction to drugs, the first step is knowing that you have a problem. Take that first step toward recovery. You might have a setback, but in the end you can do it.

Stay strong.

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