If you feel the urge to beat the crap out of your ex after a breakup or if you can’t seem to move on from a relationship, don’t worry—that’s probably just the chemicals in your brain going haywire.

According to neuroscientist Larry Young, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at Emory University and author of The Chemistry Between Us, when two people spend so much time together, chemicals in the brain are released and associated with rewards. “These spurts of oxytocin and dopamine form connections between the face and smell of your partner and the brain's reward system,” she says in an article in Marie Claire.

After a breakup, the drug disappears, and those left behind essentially experience withdrawal. “The brain is designed to try to win this person back,” says Fisher. “You get angry, say you're never going to talk to him or her again, and 10 minutes later, you're back.”

It’s also possible that your body is producing a great deal of the stress hormone CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor), which inhibits appetite, memory, and the immune system. This is why you can sometimes go on for days in bed without calling anyone, watching TV, or binge eating.

The solution: “Since love is an addiction, you have to treat it as such," says Fisher. “If you were trying to quit alcohol, would you leave tequila around? The longer you're away from the partner, the more that deep attachment decreases.”

PHOTO: Stuck in Love/Millenium Entertainment (2012)


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