You may have heard that oldie from the 80s, “Addicted to Love,” but going through love addiction is not a pleasant melody. Love is one of the most powerful and enjoyable feelings people can experience, but for people who are compulsively infatuated, it can be as if they are creating their own addictive substance. Not only do people become hooked on the feeling of love, but they become overly dependent on other people.
We all feel the rush and joy of being in love, but people who are addicted refuse to move past this phase and may even not be acquainted with the person they say they are in love with. In some cases, delusional behavior accompanies these feelings along with a disengagement from normal life. The sufferer may not pursue activities that once gave them a sense of fulfillment and can become withdrawn. In addition, they can engage in risky behaviors because of their love addiction.
What Are the Signs of Love Addiction?
Many people spend so much time thinking about the people they are love with, at least at the beginning of a relationship, that healthy love may be indistinguishable from love addiction without certain signs. One sign of love addiction is a prolonged preoccupation with the other person to the point of obsession. This can go on for six months or longer during which time a normal infatuation would tend to mellow. The person suffering from love addiction is unable to control the romantic fantasies and may stay home from work, for instance, or perform poorly in school as a result.
Another indication that somebody is not just in love but has a problem is that they behave in ways that cause negative consequences because of their obsession. One example may be stalking behavior during which the pursuer justifies the intrusive behavior on the notion that they are in love, regardless of the other person’s feelings. Sites like addiction.com have information on signs and treatments of love addiction and other compulsive behavior.
Dealing with Love Addiction
It may be difficult to help a friend or family member who is suffering from love addiction because the denial about this condition can be greater than with other addictions. For one thing, many people don’t realize that this condition actually exists and that somebody can be a love addict. However, some people realize that their infatuation has gotten out of hand and it is interfering with their day-to-day functioning.
Often people who suffer from love addiction have and other underlying problems, such as a history of domestic and childhood abuse as well as other addictions and mental health problems. Love addiction is not the same as sex addiction because the former is focused on emotions and a specific person whereas sex addiction deals with the physical act and not necessarily emotions about the other person. Often there are 12 step programs to treat addictions although it may be challenge find a support group that is focused specifically on love addiction.
Talking to a therapist is a good start for dealing with the problem of love addiction. Admitting that one has a problem and talking to a mental health professional can be a good start to managing the problem of love addiction.