The love? It’s all about chemistry. To say it is not some disenchanted cynic who no longer has confidence in feelings but numerous scientific studies conducted by analyzing what happens in the brain in love. The data collected in recent years, thanks also to Italian research, support what was initially only a hypothesis: human emotions are closely related to some purely biological mechanisms.
„That love is everything is all we know about love.“
This was how Emily Dickinson wrote in the 1800s.
Today we know many things about love, yet we always have the feeling that something of its magic and the spell it takes when we fall in love still eludes us. After all, love is a feeling that, as we will see, although finding a home in the brain rather than in the heart, has very little to do with reason. And so it seems to be destined to remain the preserve of poets, rather than scientists.
Or so we like to think.
This alteration clarifies why initially those who experience strong emotions towards someone else are focused exclusively on the partner, lose interest in the activities normally carried out because the only desire is to spend time with the beloved or loved one, they experience moments of despair. and anxiety in case the desired attention is lacking.
„The serotonin deficiency found in the brains of lovers is similar to that found in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, with depression and panic attacks. During falling in love, however, other brain changes also occur, which we analyzed in a recent study published in the American journal CNS spectrums „
Let’s try to break the enchantment of romantic love, free the butterflies closed in the stomach and talk about the biochemical aspect because it allows us to clarify not only the varied art show, but also the genesis of love sickness. In fact, where we come into contact with a pathological narcissist, a skilled strategist of love accustomed to administering ambivalent doses of presence and affectivity, the already precarious hormonal balance altered by the attraction we feel for the beloved, totally short-circuited, making us fall into the abyss of addiction affective.
Imagine this scene: you are facing the man of your dreams. He is beautiful, beautiful. You look at yourself, he smiles at you. Off the pitch you can see cupid moving away in large chunks, grin on his face, bow and arrows on his shoulder: he has just skewered you pretty well. 1.2 seconds pass and all the love molecules are in turmoil. You seem to twirl in the blue painted blue.
Phenylethylamine, the molecule responsible for passion, that is, that shiver of heat that we feel rising from the belly to the cheeks, reaches the stars. Similar to amphetamine in composition and effect, it works inside the body as a sounding board would do: it amplifies all emotions. In addition, in the interaction with norepinephrine, it stimulates the production of adrenaline, which makes our heart beat faster and generates the sweat of the hands. And not only. It also unleashes testosterone and dopamine. Inside your head is all a carnival of rowdy hormones. Dopamine, the party hormone par excellence, is responsible for the feeling of ecstasy and excitement we experience when we are happily in love. Our dopaminergic system is, at this point, hyperactivated, exactly as are the brain’s pleasure centers, the same that are activated when we make ourselves an amazing substance, only in this case the drug in question has two arms, two hands two legs, two feet, two ears and one brain, citing the lyrics of a famous song. At this point we are drugged, in the cerebral sense of the word. We like what we feel and still want.
Just to make sure we don’t miss anything, the activity of the prefrontal cortex decreases. And there, there were the centers of rationality. So now he is wonderful, he has no defects and never in any part of the known and unexplored universe will there be a better man than he is. Having lost all critical skills, we must surrender to the cerebral evidence of what is going on: love is rincretinating us! We are no longer able to reason and then we say things like „I don’t recognize myself anymore“ or „this is not me“ while, in order to meet him, we plan the round of all the places where he could be, we buy a new suit, we let’s put on the twelve heels that the last time we dared 3 years ago just for our cousin’s wedding.
All this happens with the fugitive complication of serotonin, the hormone of contentment and mood regulation, whose levels drop forcing us to focus our thoughts only on him and begin a compulsive search for the beloved (the drop in serotonin in fact, we have it in common with those who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder). Then, when we find it, physical closeness and contact (kisses, caresses, hugs), cause a flood of oxytocin to be released that makes us feel good and, simultaneously, acting on the memory centers, makes us forget the torments that we suffered when the beloved was not with us.
A research by the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei in collaboration with the American university Ichan School of Medicine in Mount Sinai (New York) is the first to try to obtain empirical evidence of brain alterations related to falling in love.
In women, the caudate nucleus, the posterior part of the parietal cortex and the septum, responsible for emotion, mental images and memories, are most active.
In men it is the visual cortex and the areas of visual processing that are most in action.
Basically, women have multiple areas that are activated during falling in love, while men have fewer but that are solicited much more quickly and with greater intensity.