As many of you know, our book is about the brain chemistry of sex and why the neuroscience of addiction is relevant to lovers. After all, the reward circuitry that the experts are studying to understand the mechanisms of addiction is also at the heart of bonding and mating. Here's more research talking about the overlap between these functions. IMHO, humans need to integrate this information before they can manage their sexual relationships for best results. Otherwise they often tend to keep amping up the stimulation (and the hangovers/desire for separation), which lets biology push them toward novel mates - and discourage them.
The behavioral anatomical and pharmacological parallels between social attachment love and addiction.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Aug 11. [Epub ahead of print]
Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road, Atlanta, GA, 30329, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love has long been referred to as an addiction in literature and poetry. Scientists have often made comparisons between social attachment processes and drug addiction, and it has been suggested that the two may share a common neurobiological mechanism. Brain systems that evolved to govern attachments between parents and children andbetween monogamous partners may be the targets of drugs of abuse and serve as the basis for addiction processes.
Here, we review research on drug addiction in parallel with research on social attachments, including parent-offspringattachments and social bonds between mating partners. This review focuses on the brain regions and neurochemicals with the greatest overlap between addiction and attachment and, in particular, the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway.
Significant overlap exists between these two behavioral processes. In addition to conceptual overlap in symptomatology, there is a strong commonality between the two domains regarding the roles and sites of action of DA, opioids, and corticotropin-releasing factor. The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin are hypothesized to integrate social information into attachment processes that is not present in drug addiction.
Social attachment may be understood as a behavioral addiction, whereby the subject becomes addicted to another individual and the cues that predict social reward. Understandings from both fields may enlighten future research on addiction and attachment processes.