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Love and the Brain

Love and the Brain

April 15, 2015
When you get that hypnotizing feeling that love gives do you recognize that your brain is emitting chemicals that make you feel like this? As a living human being we experience a countless amount of emotions daily, however, love is a term Psychologists have described as one fo the strongest human emotions known to date. I believe it to be true that everyone experiences love in their own way but there is something that draws these experiences together. When a song is released about love do you feel that it is speaking right to you and explaining an experience you are going through or have had? Well this notion suggests that there is a biological component to love that we all have. Many of the chemicals that are released when we are falling and feeling in love are included in prescription drugs for people with depression, chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin. Love like happiness, is a thing that humans crave in order to feel more then just satisfactory.

A famous researcher named Helen Fisher has dedicated her entire academic career to discovering what happens in the brains of those who are in a romantic and passionate love. Throughout this study, not to her surprise, the main area of the brain that was electrified were the areas associated with dopamine and norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals are emitted when enduring pleasurable activities and feeling excited. And just like chocolate being head over heels in love is addictive. 
"No wonder lovers talk all night or walk till dawn, write extravagant poetry and self-revealing e-mails, cross continents or oceans to hug for just a weekend, change jobs or lifestyles, even die for one another. Drenched in chemicals that bestow focus, stamina and vigor, and driven by the motivating engine of the brain, lovers succumb to a Herculean courting urge." - Helen Fisher 

According to Helen Fisher there are three main stages of love that a human experiences. The first being Lust, the second, Attraction and thirdly, Attachment. Stage One: Lust, is driven by the sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen that flow in both men and women. Stage Two: Attraction, is the true love-struck stage and the only thing that your world orbits around is that person. The suggested neurotransmitters that are involved directly with this stage are adrenalin, dopamine and serotonin. These three chemicals play a major part in the head over heels side of love. Adrenaline firstly makes you feel that heart pumping, sweating and dazed effect that you get when you bump into your love or catch them unexpectedly. Dopamine as Helen Fisher describes is where "couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in the smallest details of this novel relationship." Finally, Serotonin is one of loves most important chemicals, its the reason why you cant get them out of your head! Thirdly, Stage Three is Attachment and it represents the bond that keeps couples together. Scientist believe that the two major hormones that are involved in this stage is oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin known as the cuddle hormone, is the wonderful chemical that is released at the point of orgasm, this deepens the feel of attachment between couples after they have made love. The other major hormone, vasopressin, is the released in the long-term commitment stage therefore keeping to together for a long period of time. 

Thus, love is a variety of different chemicals, states and attitudes that can range from interpersonal connection to pleasure. It is true that there is much still left to uncover about love in all of its forms, however, the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return (E.Ahbez, 1948).