Love is the Drug

Everyone wants love or to be in love, but what keeps some people in love while others fall out of it? My mom brought up the fact that the ‘being in love’ feeling lasts two years at best. This is coming from someone who has been married for 43 years, so I’m guessing she is on to something. Of course there are many factors that keep couples together, but many of these are tangible (i.e. children,monetary issues, social pressure, respect and responsibility). There must also be something happening on physiological or psychological level that causes attachment that remains even after the initial stages of love have worn off.

When we are attracted to someone and we hug or kiss them, our bodies release chemicals that trigger feelings of happiness and pleasure. Dopamine is released and a feeling of bliss comes over us. When people are in love their energy is usually elevated and their mood is usually very good. Typically this lasts 6 months to 3 years. Enter Oxytocin. Oxytocin is refereed to as ‘the love drug’, which is created during the initial stages of infatuation/falling in love. The interesting thing about Oxytocin is that it does not go away, in fact it increases with time.

Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland. Oxytocin spikes during kissing, touching, hugging, sex, birth, breastfeeding and snuggling. Oxytocin causes blood pressure to lower and feelings of safety and trust. That is why the longer two humans are together “bonding”, the more oxytocin is being created. The love hormone plays roles in orgasm, social recognition, pair bonding, monogamous relationships, strengthening friendships and building trust. In fact studies have shown that the higher the levels of oxytocin the more likely a couple will still be together after 6 months.

Oxytocin has been prescribed for postpartum depression and is available online in a nasal spray.  I’m guessing the real thing is better.  Love, love, love.

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