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Experts: Love is a powerful drug

Feb. 13, 2007 at 1:13 PM   |   Comments

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A Rutgers University professor in New Brunswick, N.J., says the chemical reaction in the brain commonly known as "love" is similar to a drug reaction.

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and author of "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love," said love, a feeling brought about by chemical dopamine, and infatuation, which is caused by norepinephrine, have effects on the human brain comparable to those caused by drugs, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"Love is a drug," Fisher said. "The ventral tegmental area is a clump of cells that make dopamine, a natural stimulant, and sends it out to many brain regions" when one is in love. "It's the same region affected when you feel the rush of cocaine."

Pamela Regan, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and author of "Mind Games: A Primer on Love, Sex and Marriage," agrees that the chemical reaction of love is a powerful one -- and one that cannot be sustained indefinitely.

"Our bodies can't be in that state all the time," she said. "Your body would fizzle out. As a species, we'd die."

Topics: Helen Fisher
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