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Love is a Drug

It's no secret, emotions can affect your health for the positive and negative. Love can have the same effect too, according to recent research.

An interesting CNN piece tied into Valentine's Day probed the physical properties of one of the strongest feelings of all -- romantic love -- in the brain and found it has less to do with our idealistic notions. In fact, the brain handles love, based on research, like an addictive drug.

For the study, 17 love-struck patients looked at pictures of their sweethearts while an MRI machine captured images of their brains. Researchers found the portion of the brain that stood out most was the area connected to pleasure and rewards, not unlike one's desire for chocolate or money.

Thank goodness, this drive doesn't last forever. In good relationships, romantic love transitions to a different stage, labeled attachment. In bad ones, however, lovesickness can be a big problem and even be deadly.

Stress -- even the kind induced by love -- plays a major role in the health of most every patient I see, but is virtually impossible to eliminate. That's why it's important to adjust your body's ability to better handle stress by learning a safe, proven energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique and staying away from drug-based "cures" like antidepressants.

CNN February 14, 2006

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