Taking time to think about relationship addiction

12 Steps to Break Your Addiction to a Person

taking time to think about relationship addiction

Can Love Addiction be cured? but it takes some deep looking and Once in a relationship, you feel you can't live without the other person and you will do Think of all the desperate, wounded people there are on the treadmill of what they think is love, and yet they can't get off. Address the problem and take time to heal. As with any addiction, recovering from an addictive relationship involves facing Do you want to stop the obsessions, break the cycle of seeming insanity, and take back your life? feelings, and patterns in your relationship, it is time begin abstention (if you Don't scare yourself by thinking beyond today. You might be saying to yourself: relationship “addiction”? Isn't that like I think I first heard this in a spaghetti sauce commercial in the nineties. Doesn't make it Taking time off from dating hurt at first, but it healed me. I took a.

Addictive stimulants, on the other hand, often rebuild high levels of desire immediately after drug consumption e.

When these same individuals binge on sugary food, they can experience a level of neurological reward that surpasses a dose of a drug such as cocaine Lenoir et al. The evidence, therefore, suggesting that drugs of abuse are inherently better-suited to causing addiction than are other types of reward is mixed at best.

For one thing, while drug addiction is a circumscribed problem, affecting a mere fraction of the global population, romantic love is a universal phenomenon, emerging from basic, evolved sub-systems that helped our ancestors pursue mating opportunities with preferred partners see Savulescu and Sandberg In other words, love is deeply bound up with reproduction, which is the engine of natural selection Blum, Chen, et al.

And while we can flourish without ever taking drugs, we cannot do so if deprived of food, or, indeed, some measure of love and human affection. However, these considerations do not entail that love addiction, food addiction, and drug addiction are different in kind. Nobody strictly needs drugs to flourish, but in some circumstances, and for some people, some non-therapeutic drugs could certainly be considered compatible with human flourishing if taken within reason, such as the moderate consumption of alcohol.

Finally, there is the fact that love must be requited for it to deliver its full benefit. Lovers rarely regret being in love if the love is returned, and indeed a significant part of the suffering associated with falling in love stems from romantic rejection, or withdrawal of love—rather than from love itself. Substance addicts, by contrast, are never rejected by their drug in the same way, so perhaps there is a difference in this regard as well.

Even so, there are some potential parallels on this dimension that complicate the notion that love addiction and drug addiction are totally incommensurable phenomena. For example, consider the fact that the difficulty of obtaining drugs can be the source of many if not most of the problems that drug addicts experience.

Access to drugs is constrained by scarcity, cost, illegality, and social stigmatization in addition to any biological side effects.

taking time to think about relationship addiction

Some of the destructiveness of drug addiction occurs because an addict is unable to afford her drug and turns to crime; because her friends and family reject her for taking a drug; or because she cannot obtain her drug and goes into withdrawal. The addiction itself is not clearly the cause of most of the associated harms.

Therefore, we can draw at least a tenuous analogy here, too, between a lover who is rejected and a drug user who cannot access her drug of addiction. Taken together, these considerations show that while there are indeed some differences between love-based and drug-based addictions, these differences may have more to do with the frequency of problems at the population level, or with the typical degree of reward-stimulation involved in particular cases, than with any clear incommensurability in kind.

The behavioral, psychological, and neurophysiological evidence concerning love, love-related phenomena, drugs of addiction, and the parallels between them, paint a very complicated and hotly-debated picture.

The available neuroscientific and behavioral evidence simply cannot settle the question firmly one way or the other. Or, as Burkett and Young have recently suggested, might it be the case that there is a neurological equivalence between quite ordinary experiences associated with falling in love—and even basic social attachment itself—and addictions of a more conventional stripe?

Much more work is needed, we suggest, both empirical and conceptual, to arbitrate between these differing views. At a minimum, however, the evidence we have discussed in this article suggests that drug addiction, on the one hand, and at least certain love-related experiences or behaviors, on the other, can reasonably be understood to be equivalent phenomena at the level of the brain, underwritten by the same neurophysiological processes. If this is correct, it cannot be the case that narrow addiction is a phenomenon confined to addictive drugs.

Holders of the narrow view must instead claim that addiction is a term we can apply to any person who has undergone chronic and unusually strong pleasurable experiences—intense drug-reward in the case of drug addicts, food binges in the case of binge-eaters, or powerful personal attachments in the case of love addicts.

Based on this premise, in the next section, we will explore some of the practical and ethical implications that arise when we acknowledge that love has or can have addictive characteristics, at least on the narrow view, but also possibly on the broad view as well.

The solution to these mysteries, in the case of love-addiction as much as for any other purported form of addiction, will have important practical and ethical implications. First, we have sought to learn whether, or to what degree, those who suffer from addictions are capable of abstaining from or moderating their reward-seeking behavior; and second, we have been very interested to know whether—and how—we can help people to recover from addiction using various treatment modalities.

Autonomy and responsibility The first longstanding mystery concerning addiction in general is whether addicts are capable of abstaining from or moderating their drug use or other problematic behaviors. The solution to this mystery would have some indirect implications for the medical treatment of addicts, but it has much stronger philosophical and ethical implications: It is reasonable to hold them morally or criminally responsible for their drug-taking?

What about for illegal actions they committed in pursuit of their drug? These deep empirical and conceptual problems date back at least as far as the time of Plato, who wondered how a responsible person could continue to choose courses of action that she would predictably come to regret.

Naturally, this issue does not apply to love in the same way as it does to substance addiction or to other problematic behaviors. We do not ordinarily choose to love someone at least not consciously and it would be a hard thesis to defend that we should be held responsible for falling in love—even though such an occurrence can have very far-reaching, and sometimes destructive, consequences for those involved. People who are in love make choices every day about how to express their feelings: If addictive love is nothing more than a symptom of abnormal brain processes i.

taking time to think about relationship addiction

Hence, proponents of the narrow view of substance addiction have frequently argued that addicts lack control over their actions and are not fully autonomous Hyman If this is the correct view, then we might think that it would be reasonable to try to eliminate the problematic feelings and behaviors associated with addictive love, since they are merely the symptoms of disease. And we might even believe that we could be justified in using coercion or force to prevent a love addict from being near the object of her desire.

Indeed, we, too, have previously argued that in some domestic abuse situations, including Stockholm Syndrome-like cases of attachment between the victim and her abuser, coercive intervention may possibly be justifiable Earp, Wudarczyk, Sandberg, and Savulescu The broad view, by contrast, argues that even the strongest, most negative forms of love are merely extremes of an authentic emotion. Hence it is possible to argue, from these grounds, that even those people who suffer from harmful extremes of love may be fully autonomous in their behavior.

On this kind of view, any possible treatment modality would then differ along certain dimensions. Likewise, treatments should never violate the autonomy of the person-in-love, nor should they involve coercion or force of any kind. Two of us have advanced a similar point of view regarding treatment for substance addiction Foddy and Savulescu As we noted in a recent paper Earp, Wudarczyk, Sandberg, and Savulescu3: Yet as we show in what follows, the general conclusion of such an analysis may not differ very much in the end, regardless of the view one takes.

That is, love addiction—however it is conceived—would seem to be an appropriate candidate for treatment in at least some circumstances.

Or so we argue in this section. On this kind of view, love addiction is a neurobiological disorder that has no place in a healthy or flourishing life, and it follows that we ought to offer love addicts some measure of treatment or support. For example, just as heroin addicts are sometimes given oral naltrexone to block the pharmacological effects of their drug, we could use oxytocin antagonists to reduce the reward an individual receives from being close to another person see Earp, Wudarczyk, Sandberg, and Savulescu According to the broad view, by contrast, everyone who loves is on a spectrum of addictive conditions: On this kind of view, it can be objected that love—no matter how destructive—is never an appropriate object of psychiatric treatment.

On both views, that is, the primary difficulty from an ethical point of view is to determine how we ought to distinguish the good kinds of love from the bad: As one of us has argued, in cases of mental illness it can be very difficult to sort pathology from normal function, especially in the grey areas between extremes Savulescu For example, we arbitrarily define anyone with an IQ two standard deviations below the mean as being intellectually disabled—and hence deserving of special treatment—but we could just as easily have put the bar at one standard deviation, or three.

Nearly every psychiatric disability or disease represents an extreme of a smooth spectrum of behavior, function, or capacity. Not all sad people are depressed, and not all energetic people are manic.

Our definitions of psychiatric illness, therefore, are essentially holistic rather than purely naturalistic; they are based inevitably on judgments of value—or in other words, ethical judgments. At base, these judgements relate certain states of biology or psychology to well-being: We must consider who we think should have excuses for their behavior; who should receive support from friends or from the state; who should be an object of medical research; and above all who should receive treatment.

In line with this view, consider the definition of substance dependence from the latest available at the time of writing edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychological Association, the DSM-IV: In other words, it matters fundamentally whether harm, difficulty, or ill-consequences are associated with the reward-seeking behavior: What insight do these considerations bring to our understanding of love addiction and its potential for being an appropriate subject of treatment?

The message by now should be clear: In the next section, we examine this perspective in greater detail. Love addiction and well-being There are three main theories of well-being—or classes of theories—discussed throughout the literature Griffin ; Parfit How one relates love addiction to well-being, and therefore to treatment, will depend upon the theory or theories of well-being one finds most convincing.

Is There A Cure For Love Addiction?

The first class of theories concerning well-being are hedonistic theories, which are defined in terms of mental states. The simplest account of this type of view is that happiness, or pleasure understood broadly as a mental state is the only intrinsic good, whereas unhappiness or pain is the only intrinsic bad.

More complex hedonistic views include a greater plurality of states of mind as possibly contributing to or constituting well being: Yet however one construes 6 this hedonistic mental-state view, it is clearly possible that a person could prefer to exist in a rapturous state of love, even though it might yield a number of adverse consequences in other areas of her life, due to its irrefutably high, intrinsic hedonic value.

Indeed, in Western societies, being in love is widely considered to be an extremely valuable state, and possibly constitutive of a good life all on its own.

Dawson, do you really think it is possible to be cured? I think I just learned to practice self-control in relation to the symptoms. How do you fix the inside stuff? Sarah Yes Sarah, there are cures to love addiction. To Get Free of Love Addiction To get free from love addiction, we must clearly understand how deeply the cravings for love penetrate our hearts.

There is no deeper emotional desire we have than to love and be loved. King Solomon, whose been called the wisest man in the Bible, said, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Emotionally, our hearts are extremely fragile and can be easily hurt, therefore sending us in the wrong direction of life. Our innermost being started out as a beautiful creation of God, but with wrong choices we can easily trash it and leave it sick and in great need. Picture in your mind for a moment a beautiful white carpet perfectly white. Then picture someone coming in to the room where the white carpet is, and throwing garbage, manure, and staining paint all over the carpet.

What was the emotional tone of the relationship for you? Emotionally, did you get your needs satisfied? How did your relationship end? What were the feelings of each of you about its ending? Write Memos to Yourself A patient of mine invented the technique of writings memos to herself. She would write memos, mail them to herself, take them out of her mailbox when she got home the following night, and find such things as: Make yourself that curried chicken, and put on some good music.

You are worth making a fuss over.

12 Steps to Break Your Addiction to a Person

Then enjoy the rest of the evening by doing whatever you want to do that would be fun and pleasurable. So remember how impossibly stingy he was and berated you viciously or being extravagant whenever you bought something a little luxurious, even though it was with your own money! And how stupidly meticulous he could be. And how ungenerous he was with his feelings. To free yourself from the tyranny of your Attachment Hunger [the degree to which your needs were satisfied as an infant], it can be helpful to see clearly the connection between the infant or child you once were and the feelings you are experiencing now.

It would be enormously helpful for you to connect up with the infant and child memory tapes within you. Write down each negative feeling that is triggered by anticipating or acting to break a bad relationship, whether it is your terror of aloneness and abandonmentoverwhelming neediness, longing, inadequacy, insecurity, guilt, or whatever.