Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Is A Clinical Condition...

Sex addiction is nothing new in Hollywood. But what about love addiction? Does it actually exist?

Believe it or not, health experts claim love addiction is a clinical medical condition, which, although seemingly far-fetched, has the potential to cause a similar degree of physical and emotional suffering as a drug or alcohol addiction.

And it's not just A-listers who are being treated for it. In the past year, 10 to 15 per cent of admissions at Sydney's South Pacific Private treatment centre have involved issues relating to love addiction.

When Love Attacks

The checklist of symptoms reads like a painful description we can all, in some part, relate to - heart-wrenching break-ups, a desperate hunger to be in a relationship, a feeling of never being able to live without your partner.

According to therapist Dr Affie Adagio, who specialises in the dependency, the defining characteristic of love addiction is extreme behaviour and, as with other forms of addiction, the sufferer constantly strives for a high.

"Love addiction is when a person can't help themselves and their behaviour becomes erratic and uncontrollable," she explains. "They need to be in a relationship and will go to any lengths to get into one. Once they're coupled up, they become neurotic and it turns into somewhat of a nightmare."

Dr Adagio likens it to stalker-ish behaviour, "They become jealous and manipulative, and have to know where their partner is at all times. They have higher-than-usual expectations that this person will make them happy."

The Danger Zone

The real trouble begins when a relationship, which has been giving them the high they crave, suddenly comes to an end. Sure, we all know what it's like to drown in a sea of tissues over a split, but feelings of despair and abandonment probe much deeper for love addicts.

As with other addictions, there are severe withdrawals to follow, and Dr Adagio believes those who are love addicted are not emotionally mature enough to come out of a relationship without declaring war and hurting the other person.

"Usually, it's a very painful parting," she says. "When they achieve the high at the beginning of the relationship, it's an endorphin release.

"Then, when they're coming out of the relationship, they experience the opposite - a total low. They fall into the depths of depression and it can become a life-threatening condition if it isn't treated."

The Love Antidote

The best way to deal with the habit, according to Dr Adagio, is therapy. "Sufferers need help as they really can't do it on their own," she says. "If they isolate themselves, they're at greater risk of becoming suicidal, especially if they're deeply depressed."

"Their best action would be to see a therapist who can prescribe the right treatment for their depression. People are afraid of that, but this condition needs to be treated seriously."

"Unfortunately, society primes us to believe that this is a normal thing; that being in love is the way to go," says Dr Adagio. "But, you're going to be far happier in a relationship that isn't so exaggerated."

"Falling in love needs to be a slower process - you meet someone, you're both attracted to each other and then, gradually, it progresses to a commitment of intimacy. That's the healthier way."


Eduardo said...

So awesome! :S Didn't know that it can happens without being actually crazy :S

Bye Dude!
Greetings from Venezuela!

Balkan Fire said...

very true!