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I Have a Love Addiction: Now What?

What is love? Philosophers, poets, and most people ponder what love is. Some love the idea of being in love, and many of those people form deep, meaningful relationships. Love is felt and expressed in different ways because everyone is different. Sometimes, the time spent finding or keeping love can become disproportionate to other daily activities. When this happens, you could have an addiction to love.

What Is Love Addiction?

The definition of pathological love (love addiction) is a set of behaviors that present as maladaptive, excessive, and pervasive attention on a romantic partner(s). The extreme interest can result in uncontrollable behaviors, excluding other interests with potentially adverse consequences. The findings in Love Addiction: Definition, Etiology, Treatment, a paper published in 2010, state that love addiction is an immature type of love.

The medical community hasn’t come to a consensus on how to diagnose a love addiction. However, some suggest love addiction is similar to substance addiction. Pathological love isn’t characterized by substance ingestion, but an intense feeling of pleasure or satisfaction can occur, similar to what happens with a gambling addiction.

What Are the Symptoms of Love Addiction?

Love addiction can look different for many because there are no identifiable symptoms. Some in the medical community think a few signs of love addiction include:

  • Feeling lost when you don’t have a significant other
  • Putting your love interest over other relationships or responsibilities.
  • The need to be in a relationship even if you know the relationship isn’t healthy
  • Depression or obsession if a love interest isn’t interested in you
  • Clinging to your partner
  • Anxiety

Do I Need Therapy?

Studies that show similarities between substance addiction and love addiction highlight how the brain reacts to feelings of love. A study published by Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology explores love addiction as a process addiction. Process addiction, unlike substance addiction, is the obsession with particular activities (having sex, seeking attention from someone, or being in the same area). When with the person they love, the person with a love addiction experiences intense momentary feelings of pleasure and a reprieve from persistent thoughts of the beloved person. If your relationship includes these behaviors, you should consider talking with a therapist.

How Can Therapy Help?

Love addiction treatment is similar to mental health or substance use disorder treatment. Your therapist will discuss treatment options, and you will form a treatment plan. A part of your treatment can include cognitive-behavioral therapy and treatment for intimacy disorders.

Are There Coping Skills?

Because love addiction isn’t well studied, you may not know you have a problem. One of the first parts of learning to cope with love addiction is to admit you have a problem. Some other ways to cope include:

  • Become comfortable with being alone
  • Identify relationship patterns and behaviors
  • Practice self-love and invest in yourself
  • Attend support group meetings

Does anyone know what love is? Many believe it’s respect, compassion, and support for another. But, not all love is like that. Love addiction is characterized by unhealthy behaviors that can negatively affect your life or a partner’s life. What can you do if you have a love addiction? Talk with a therapist. The Guest House has therapists who can help you learn about your addiction. Your treatment plan can include intimacy therapy and holistic therapies. We encourage you to enjoy our spacious estate found near Ocala, Florida. For more information, call (855) 483-7800.