Love -- As Good As Snorting Cocaine

Amy Keyishian

she is my drugIf you went to college in the ‘80s, the make-out album of choice was Roxy Music’s Siren, with “Love Is a Drug” as its standout single.

Late at night, I park my car -- stake my place at the singles bar, Bryan Ferry croons. I say go, she says yes, dim the lights … you can guess the rest.

Hmm. Really, that song’s more about sex, but another less-sexy ‘80s classic by Huey Lewis and the News demands a drug that’ll make him feel as good as he does when he’s with his lady-friend.

Well, guess what, Huey and Bryan -- you were on to something. A new study says that the totally crazy puppy-love honeymoon phase of a relationship tickles the dopamine centers of the brain, triggering the same feelings we get from using painkillers or cocaine.

Love is a drug, and I need to score. Indeed!

This isn’t news to anyone who’s been seriously bitten on the butt by the love bug. A month or two after I met my now-husband, I got a bad stomach flu and spent a long, agonizing evening with my cheek pressed against the cool porcelain of my toilet seat. I found to my astonishment that if I closed my eyes and thought of my new beau, I could make it through the stomach cramps much more easily. Not that I wanted to link stomach cramps to romance, but there it was. He was like human Pepto Bismol! Only less pink.

To do this study, researchers hooked up college students in the throes of fresh amour, had them look at photos of their loved ones, and scanned their brains. I’m sad to report there were no electric shocks -- they just studied which parts of the brain lit up, and it was the same ones stimulated by opioids. So much for my faith in mad scientists.

Of course, like the impassioned phase of love itself, this effect only lasts as long as the stars in your eyes. After that, it’s Advil and couple's therapy.

Did love ever make you want to snort your boyfriend? Tell us in the comments!

Photo via kainr/Flickr

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