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Overcoming loving rejection equates to overcoming an addiction, says study

Overcoming loving rejection equates to overcoming an addiction, says study

People who suffer a lot from unrequited love or a relationship that has come to an end may cling now to a biological explanation. New research by Rutgers University in New Jersey suggests that rejection of a lover may be similar to having to get rid of an addiction. The study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology, is one of the first to examine the brains of people who have "heartbroken" recently and have a hard time overcoming their relationship. 15 volunteers (10 women and 5 men) of university age who had ended a relationship but still loved the person who had rejected them. The average duration of the relationships was about two years, and two months had passed, on average, since the breakup of relationships. All participants had high scores on a questionnaire that psychologists use to measure the intensity of romantic feelings. The participants also said they spent more than 85% of their waking hours thinking about who rejected them.

After the scan, the scientists found that while looking at the photographs of the old partners, men and women with a broken heart have activated the brain regions associated with reward, craving for addiction, control of emotions and feelings of attachment, physical pain and anguish. These results provide answers as to why it can be very difficult for some to overcome a rupture and because in some cases people are led to commit extreme acts such as persecution and murder after losing their love. romantic love is an addiction, "said research author Helen E. Fisher, a biological anthropologist. "It's a very powerful and wonderful addiction, when things are going well and a horrible addiction when things are going wrong," she said. Researchers are suspicious that the brain's response to romantic rejection may have an evolutionary basis. "Probably the circuits of the brain for romantic love have developed millions of years ago to allow our ancestors to concentrate their mating energy on only one person for a while and begin the mating process," she believes. "And when you are rejected in love, it is as if you lose the highest prize of life, that is, a mate for mating." Second Fisher, this system of the brain is activated to help the rejected person try to get the person back, so he can focus on it and try to get it back.

Time is the solution

The good news is that the "time is the best medicine" also applies to people who are romantically rejected. The researchers noted that the longer the time had elapsed since separation, the less activity there was in a region of the brain associated with pleasure and reward.

Brain areas involved in emotion regulation, decision making and assessment were also activated when the participants saw the photo of their ex-lover. "This suggests that the participants were learning from their past romantic experience, assessing their gains and losses, and finding out how to deal with the situation," Fisher said.

These results suggest that talking about their experience, rather than simply "to enjoy" suffering, may have therapeutic benefits for the lover. "It seems to be healthy for the brain, rather than just swimming in despair, thinking about the situation more actively and trying to work out a way to deal with it," Fisher says.

Big expectations, big bumps

Does it mean that we are not prepared to live frustrations in love? That suffering too much is not normal? And where does this pain that does not seem to end? It can be said that the great villain of the process is the expectation, and the greater it is, it is a fact, the greater the tumble. But there is no escape from this preparation for something that is yet to come. "Since childhood, we have been living up to expectations, starting at school, going to college, graduating, getting a job ..." explains psychotherapist Chris Allmeida. "The mistake is to try to reproduce this behavior in human relationships - expect something or predict the behavior of the other," he says.And, there is no way, on many occasions it is inevitable to generate expectations. But if a relationship is over, the best medicine is to shake off the dust and move on. Part of this mental sanity exercise is to understand that disappointments, major or minor, are a side effect of life, but also have a less egocentric and humbler view of one's own existence than the world does not revolve around us. "It is important to adapt desires to reality, but to understand that this is not always possible," says the psychotherapist.

Unusual sadness

But how can we evaluate if we suffer with discernment? According to psychotherapist Chris Allmeida, it is normal for the suffering caused by disappointment to peak in the first 24 hours and on the following days to begin to decline. "Being sad is not a disease, but the maintenance of sadness and abandonment deserves to be studied," he says. "It is the whining and whining that fuel disappointment," says the expert. Individuals who are experiencing this kind of emotional alteration have signs that make life appear to be over after suffering the hurt. They are the so-called symptoms of deprivation, "when the person goes into an external process of self-destruction: he is socially isolated, overeating or not feeding, becoming depressed and relaxed with his own hygiene.


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