While there are some in the professional community that aren't sure that love addiction really exists, I would remind them that 20 to 30 years ago many professionals were cynical that sex addiction was real.
Now, there are few, if any, in the professional community that argue against sex addictions existence. Much of sex addictions attention has exploded because of the internet availability of pornographic sites; these sites being the most profitable industry on the web. What also exists INTERNATIONALLY is a 12 step support group called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous or SLAA. Notice the word Love in this international group.
Love vs. Sex Addiction
There are components of love addiction attached to sex addiction, no doubt. In fact some love addicts do attend SLAA to help support recovery. Early in my recovery, as I sought support through my recovery from love addiction, I attended these groups. I did find good people who were supportive and were grateful for their support. But as I listened to many of their stories, I couldn't't relate. I couldn't't relate because I was not addicted to sex and many of the behaviors were distinctively different. Although many of the compulsion's and desires of seeking external validation was the same, as they are with all addictions, I never had a connection to that addiction.
But now let's gets back to addictions to relationships, people, romance, love. First off, love addiction is not really addiction to love. What exists in genuine love is real intimacy, congruence, flexibility, and doesn't't have a dependency component. Love addiction an addiction to a pseudo, or false love. To the love addict, it may feel and appear to have real love and intimacy, but in fact does not.
Love and Fantasy
Love is the addiction to the fantasy- an addiction to the denial of what the love addict holds on to very tight. The fantasy and denial is what creates the "high". It turns on the brain chemicals that make the love addict feel alive. Like any other addiction, the purpose of the addiction is to feel good, feel alive, feel worth, and ultimately, to escape the reality of life. This is done by using something external from the self (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work, and the list goes on).
To put it simply, love addiction is a psychological addiction to a person or the fantasy of the person which results in certain behavior's, compulsion's, and obsessions. It is a person who needs to engage in the fantasy of someone despite the harm it causes out of desire for the positive effects. The positive effects, or feelings, are created by endorphin's and other nuero-chemicals in the brain.
In addictions (any addiction), there exists withdrawal without the alcohol or substance. As with love addiction, there is withdrawal when the love addict cannot be in the presence of the person they've become addicted to. Typically when love addicts are going through a breakup of the relationship, or when their partner continues to distant from the love addict, there can be excruciating withdrawal.
If the love addict is able to get the person back in his presence, withdrawal symptoms cease, just like an alcoholic addicted to alcohol, or a heroin addict addicted to heroin. If the love addict cannot get the person back, the next person to come along will replace the fantasy, and bring the relief back into the love addicts life- albeit, temporarily, like other addictions.
Furthermore, the more one uses the drug of choice, tolerance to that drug develops and the addict needs more and more. Just like the love addict who needs more and more closeness, assurance and total security of the person they've become addicted to.
In the future I believe love and relationship addiction will be properly recognized as a true addiction. But we don't need to wait for this truth to finally be acknowledged. Truth is, love addiction is now being treated at a some of the worlds top treatment centers. Unfortunately, these treatment centers cost thousands and thousands of dollars which 98% of the population cannot afford. But this doesn't't mean we can't change and recover from this toxic addiction. This is why I started this website (read my bio, About Jim) to help people who want to break the love addiction to pieces and experience healthy and fulfilling love not only in romance, but with themselves.
If you want to gain the power to change the way you love in relationships (and the way you love yourself)... if you are sick and tired of the unhealthy patterns in your relationships, I can no doubt help you... Love Addiction Recovery Help
Read my book to understand much more about the intricacies of addictive relationships...