If human beings were unable to experience the beautiful and all-consuming sensation known as falling in love, we would have never created some of the world’s most powerful music, art, literature, or film. We would also be missing out on one of the most profound facets of human existence. Falling in love is confusing, scary, funny, and life-changing all at the same time. While many of the physical effects of being in love may be unique to you, scientists have been able to pinpoint neurological and physical explanations for some of the most common symptoms known to the lovesick: racing heartbeats, nervousness, obsessive focus, etc.Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and author of Why We Love?, breaks the process of falling in love into three different stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. The body reacts in specific ways during each stage based on brain chemistry and the release of various hormones. Your body’s physical response throughout these stages also depends on whether you are happy or dissatisfied in the romantic relationship. Your willingness to continue or break off the relationship is also influenced by these neurological factors.Many aspects of love will always be a mystery to us, but there are universal effects that falling in love has on many people’s physical beings. Here are eight things that happen to your body when you fall in love:
1. Love is physically addictive.
Falling in love activates areas in the brain that scientists have also found activated in the brains of cocaine addicts. In a 2010 Syracuse University study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Stephanie Ortigue and her team of researchers observed the brains of subjects while they looked at photographs of their romantic partners. Researchers found that the dopaminergic subcortical system in the subjects’ brains lit up (which is the neurological region also activated in cocaine addicts). When this area and other areas of the brain start working, they “release euphoria-inducing chemicals” — hormones including dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin. Oxytocin is also known as “the love hormone” because it’s what causes that warm and fuzzy feeling, and vasopressin can cause “aggression and territorial behavior.” So that’s why falling in love feels so wonderful, and why you’ll lose it if someone tries to make moves on your boo.