Can you really be “addicted to love”?
Maybe, but it’s unlikely to be at all common among healthy people.
Via Mark Griffiths’ blog:
By applying these basic criteria to love, I would guess (as I have never done any empirical research on this topic) that there would be very few genuine ‘love addicts’. When people first meet and fall in love, many of the criteria above may be temporarily experienced, but this is due to the effect of novelty, and may not be particularly long lasting. There is certainly some empirical evidence by Dr. Thomas Timmreck (California State University, USA) suggesting that relationship break-ups and death of life-partners can lead to a range of symptoms that resemble withdrawal effects in more traditional addictions.
As I have said many times before in many different contexts, the difference between healthy enthusiasms and addictions is that healthy enthusiasms add to life whereas addictions take away from them. For the vast majority of people, falling in love (and being in love with somebody), is something that is life affirming and life enhancing and in no way problematic.
I recently co-authored (along with Dr Steve Sussman and Nadra Lisha, from the University of Southern California) a review paper on addiction prevalence across 11 different potentially addictive behaviours (including love addiction). We reported that one study by MacLaren and Best in 2010, provided estimates of 12% for relationship submissive/love addiction among a sample of young adults. Most studies I have read report the prevalence of love addiction at around 3% to 6%. However, most of these studies are methodologically questionable (small samples, sample bias, etc.) and are more likely to be estimating or assessing preoccupation with love rather than genuine addiction.
Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.