Hey you just left me
And I’m going crazy
It’s like a craving
For drugs, baby
We don’t usually associate being dumped with craving narcotics. Usually it’s ice cream and rom-coms, or standing outside of houses with boom boxes. The latter is how you get a free restraining order.
However, a study done at Stony Brook University shows that our brain processes the emotions associated with breakups in the same areas connected to addiction, motivation, and reward.
The study calls the aftermath of the breakup-when you’re down or smashing every gift your former SO gave you-‘romantic rejection’. Instead of, well, ‘YOU JUST CAN’T HANDLE THIS! *sob sob*’.
In the study, an fMRI scanned the brains of individuals who had just been dumped. The researchers showed the subjects pictures of their lost loves.
The areas of the brain sparked by that stimulus were the ventral tegmental (area connected to motivation, reward), as well as the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex (area connected to addiction, and the chemical that makes you happy). Lost? Here’s a map of the brain to help you decode this stuff.
The findings indicate that romantic love is like a high, and when you’re rejected, it’s like the crash. Don’t despair. They also ran tests showing that it gets better over time.
Unless your ex is Taylor Swift. Then, run like hell. Know more.