What Is Love Addiction?
When a person has developed an unhealthy and obsessive fixation with a love interest, they suffer from love addiction. Love is a feeling that all humans strive for either having someone to love or being loved back by another.
However, some people are dependent on the feel-good rush they experience when being in love and this can manifest in an unhealthy way.
People who suffer from love addiction act in strange and irrational ways to the detriment of themselves and those loved ones and others around them.
Love addiction causes people to have unrealistic standards and expectations of love. When these criteria are not met, the condition of their love addiction worsens.
Although this disorder is not a mental health condition recognized by the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Health Disorders, it is still being debated if it should be as sufferers with this condition experience real and debilitating symptoms.
Similar to other types of addictions, a person who has love addiction exhibits impulses and behaviour out of their control. Only proper treatment can help them learn how to form healthy relationships and unlearn their unhealthy behaviours.
Love addiction is not to be confused with sex addiction. People who suffer from love addiction have an uncontrollable and overwhelming need to feel love. This causes them and the ones who actually love them serious detriments. Those addicted to love are obsessed with the notion of being in love so will embark to extraordinary lengths to seek out love or please them compromising their own needs and well-being.
Love addicts usually have numerous relationships or even remain in toxic or destructive relationships for the fear of being on their own. With time, the intense obsessive love preoccupation can lead to compulsive behaviours, out-of-control emotions, and an inability to feel any sort of pleasure independent from the person they are in love with. They can also never maintain or find a blanched relationship that is long-lasting.
This kind of addiction is categorised as an attachment disorder where the person suffering from it becomes wholly dependent on the attention of their romantic partner. As with any form of addiction, the root cause of the disorder stems from the mind and it is found that love addicts typically suffer from extremely low self-esteem and self-worth.
Love addicts may tolerate physically and mentally harmful behaviours from their partners because they feel that they deserve it or otherwise, it is preferable to being on their own. Unfortunately, those who suffer from love addiction rarely realise it is a serious affliction and that there is treatment and help available.
At PROMIS Love Addiction Treatment Center, highly effective treatment is provided to help those suffering from love addiction. The treatment aims to identify the root cause within each individual which will differ from one person to another and our professionally trained and experienced staff help through therapy to recover from them and lead a healthy life.
Love Addiction Behaviours
Those who struggle with love addiction typically behave where they pursue relationships for the rush it gives them that they get from the “honeymoon phase” as well as idolize their love interest, become very attached or clingy, and in some cases wholly dependent on the partner. Other behaviours that a person with love addiction may display are:
- The perpetual need to be in a relationship
- Avoid leaving an abusive relationship for fear of being alone
- Suffering from severe depression and destructive behaviours after a breakup
- Falling in love with someone and committing to them without real knowledge of that person
- Frequent moving from one relationship to another in search of love
- The persistent insatiable feeling within a relationship
- Displaying jealousy and possessive behaviour when their partner spends time with others
- Making huge personal sacrifices to please their partner
- Neglecting themselves and other loved one’s needs for the sake of being with their partner
- Isolating socially and neglecting regular personal responsibilities including work and finances to be with their partner
Characteristics of Love Addiction
The common characteristics or signs of love addiction include:
- Confusing intense sexual experiences and new romantic excitement for love
- Perpetually searching and craving for a romantic relationship
- If in a relationship, fearful of the other’s unhappiness and always desperate to please them
- The feeling of desperation and loneliness when not in a relationship to the point of it being unbearable or emotionally difficult
- After the initial period of the relationship when the excitement has died down, unable to maintain a continued intimate relationship
- Finding partners who require a lot of attention but does not reciprocate both emotionally and physically
- Finding relationship partners who are emotionally unavailable who are or may be verbally or physically abusive
- Sacrificing important interests, beliefs, or friendships for a romantic relationship or to please their partner
- Joining in activities of no interest or against personal values to please a partner
- Family, career, or social experiences are low on the priority where the main aim is to search for a romantic relationship
- Using sex, seduction, and manipulation to seduce or hold on to a partner
- Using sex or romantic intensity to cope with difficult experiences or emotions
- Unable to end unhealthy or abusive relationships
- Repeatedly returning to previously toxic or painful relationships
Characteristics of a Love Addict
For those suffering from any addiction, even love addiction, it is difficult to admit having difficulties and seeking help.
Love addicts feel worthless, depressed, and anxious. If you or someone you care about have any of the following characteristics, there is always help available and treatment options that can help overcome this situation.
Love addicts will display signs of:
- Falling in love with someone without really knowing them.
- Having or feeling a constant need to be in a relationship.
- Feeling unsatisfied within a relationship.
- Moving frequently from one relationship to another in search of love.
- Continuing in an abusive relationship just to be in a relationship.
- Experiencing extreme depression and showing destructive behaviours after a relationship breakup.
- Obsessing with and being overly reliant on a partner.
- Forgoing their personal needs and needs of loved ones for the sake of their or being with their partner.
- Making personal sacrifices to please their partner.
- Feeling jealousy and possessiveness when their partner interacts with other people.
- Neglecting personal responsibilities and finances as well as isolating from other people.
Causes of Love Addiction
Love addiction, like all other addictions, can affect anyone. Although some people may be more predisposed to developing an addiction than others, there are certain factors that contribute to the risk of developing a love addiction. The following factors can contribute to the increased risk of someone developing love addiction:
- Family history–If a child grows up in a home where one parent is a love addict, as this addiction is a learned behaviour, it is likely that the child’s mind is conditioned that the behaviour is normal and continues the cycle.
- Traumatic experiences– Children or young youths who have suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at higher risk of developing a love addiction. Traumatic first relationship encounters can contribute to the risk. Low self-worth and self-esteem can push people to seek out love in all the wrong places with the wrong people.
- Past bad relationships– Those who have had previous bad relationships feel unworthy or obsessed with the idea of being in love. They may seek out numerous relationships, Desperate to feel loved they may seek out numerous relationships or stick out a toxic or unhealthy current relationship for the fear of being alone. The past experience makes them struggle to form healthy new relationships with others.
Consequences of Love Addiction
Love addiction can cause a variety of emotional distresses such as depression, anxiety, and other compulsive behaviours. This in turn can result in infidelity, divorce, poor job performance, relationship conflicts, inability to perform as well as neglect of everyday tasks, clinginess, and emotional distress.
Intense emotional highs and lows, such as disappointment or heartbreak are common. In some situations, it can also lead to toxic or abusive relationships and unsafe behaviour.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Love Addiction?
As research has shown, the emotion of love can activate the dopamine reward system in your brain in the same way as other addictive behaviours such as drugs, alcohol, gambling. The intense euphoria at the idea of a new romance pushes those suffering from love addiction to disconnect from a romantic partner and sustain a healthy relationship beyond the honeymoon stage.
The signs and symptoms of love addiction are:
- Craving the need to be in love
- Fearing being alone
- Enjoying the feeling of being in love more than sustaining a healthy relationship
- Losing interest in a relationship when attachment forms
- Pursuing new and multiple relationships for the high of being in love
- Showing obsessive behaviour over current or potential partners
- Idolizing their partner
- Having the fear of their partner leaving
- Searching out and chasing new love interests
- Feeling incomplete without a partner
- Clingy and wholly dependent on a partner.
- Finding happiness only through love, romance, or a romantic partner
- Having withdrawal-like symptoms when deprived of the love and romance craved
- Hiding from negative emotions or situations by forming new relationships
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Love Addiction?
For love addicts to recover from this complex problem involves the treatment of the core issues. For example, healing the shame and low self-worth, unhealthy boundaries, breaking the toxic relationship patterns; and changing unhealthy beliefs about what relationships are really supposed to look like.
Counselling is an effective treatment option to do this as well as build self-esteem and discover self-worth. Sufferers of love addiction also need help in addressing past issues such as abandonment, abuse, trauma, and neglect. In some cases, they will also need help with other addiction issues, anxiety, depression, or eating disorders.
Seek help from a helping professional who specializes in helping people with love addiction is always the best option.
Finding Help for Love Addiction
PROMIS Love Addiction Treatment Centre is a private facility dedicated to helping people overcome their unhealthy love addiction behaviours by providing therapeutic treatment, life coaching, nutritional counselling, and spiritual guidance.
Our team of specialists at our facility is available to discuss your or your loved ones’ situation with confidentiality and privacy to recommend steps needed to get effective treatment. Help from PROMIS Love Addiction Treatment Centre is just a phone call away.
Recovering from Love Addiction
The initial step in recovering from love addiction is to recognize there is a problem and what it is. This step, like in any other addiction is challenging.
There will also be feelings of withdrawal that needs to be overcome. Many love addiction recovery patients after treatment may attend groups such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A) offers meetings worldwide.
There are four main phases of recovery from love addiction.
- The first phase is addressing any other addictive processes such as alcoholism, eating disorder
- The next phase is to disengage from the addictive part of the relationship process
- Next, an outpatient therapist is sought, to work through any unresolved childhood issues
- The final phase is to work on the underlying co-dependent symptoms
For recovering love addicts who are not currently in a relationship, they must learn how to pay close attention to the type of partner when entering into a new relationship.
Recognition, articulation and comprehension of the person in recovery, of their role in this addiction, makes it easier to break the cycle. Understanding their past and resolving childhood traumas helps them develop more inner security.
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