Although love addiction is not listed as an official diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, addictive behavior can apply to many different substances and behaviors, including love. The behavior patterns of those who struggle with love addiction can be crippling and destructive. They can be every bit as damaging as drug addiction.

The Excitement of Falling in Love

When a person falls in love, there is a feeling of euphoria and excitement. The whole world seems like a new and beautiful place, and this rush of positive emotion is frequently captured in poetry and song. Most people wish that this feeling would last forever, but realize that it won’t. It’s only when the initial feelings of unrealistically blissful euphoria pass that the work of real loving can begin.

A love addict doesn’t recognize this, but instead chases the feeling of euphoria in early love the same way a drug addict chases his or her next high. If you struggle with love addiction, you revolve your entire life around the object of your affection, and you may go from one relationship to another, searching for the one that can bring you a continual feeling of intoxication.

Characteristics of Addiction

There are several things that characterize addictive behavior, and these things occur whether you are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling or love. When you are addicted, you have a disease that is chronic, progressive and relapsing. You are in denial that you have a problem and you try to hide your behavior from your loved ones.

Whatever you are addicted to becomes the most important thing in your life, and you may turn your back on friends or activities that interfere with your addictive behavior.  You continue your addictive behavior despite negative consequences such as financial losses or getting arrested. You participate in risk-taking activities that wouldn’t happen if you weren’t addicted.

If you are struggling with love addiction, you may end up in one bad relationship after another because you can’t imagine anything worse than not being in a relationship. You may put up with verbal or physical abuse rather than risk being alone, which is very similar to what drug addicts will do to avoid living without drugs.

Help for Love Addiction

Like other forms of addiction, recovering from love addiction requires breaking through denial and admitting that there is a problem with the addictive way you approach relationships. A counselor who specializes in addiction can help you work to change your behavior and learn healthier ways of relating to others. Participating in group therapy or support groups can also help you to recover from love addiction.

Love addiction is a real problem for many people. The good news is that once you have accepted that you need help, it is definitely possible to recover from this disorder and learn to have healthy relationships.


NCBI Pub Med: The behavioral, anatomical and pharmacological parallels between social attachment, love and addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Characteristics of Drug Dependent People


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