Love and Dopamine

by jenny sansouci on September 18, 2008

so, a friend of mine said something interesting to me the other day. she told me that what happens to your brain when you fall in love is the same thing as what happens to your brain when you’re high on cocaine. i haven’t been able to stop thinking about this phenomenon. so i did a bit of research. turns out it all comes down to one little friend we like to call dopamine.

you know, it’s actually really simple. dopamine is associated with the pleasure centers in the brain. addictions stem from a craving for pleasure.

from this article:

Dr. Brown said scientists believe that when you fall in love, the ventral tegmental floods the caudate with dopamine. The caudate then sends signals for more dopamine.

“The more dopamine you get, the more of a high you feel,” Dr. Brown says.

Or as her colleague, Dr. Helen Fisher put it: When you fall in love, “exactly the same system becomes active as when you take cocaine. You can feel intense elation when you’re in love. You can feel intense elation when you’re high on cocaine.”

And from this article:

Prof Fisher said: “Addictions are very powerful, and cocaine addiction is associated with dopamine systems.” She also speculated that the increase in energy people newly in love experience may be due to a flush of dopamine.


and btw, this is a dopamine necklace. i am digging it.

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beck September 19, 2008 at 10:40 am

falling in love kicks ass

kathryn September 23, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Jenny! Isaac got me earring EXACTLY like that. From this cool website, I forget the name but I am sure it’s the same one. HA that is soooo funny!

BTW, I also think serotonin (5HT) is important, it regulates your sexual, sleep, eating, etc behavior.. we all know all those go all haywire when you’re newly in love. But dopamine involves the feelings of well-being that aren’t just brought on by cocaine, but literally any drug… ecstasy, alcohol, LSD, adderall, etc… they all work by either mimicking dopamine (DA) or by blocking dopamine re-uptake so you have more circulatin’

let the good times roll….

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