Love Affects the Brain Like Cocaine

By Bryan Le 02/14/13

What better day to celebrate cocaine's naturally-occurring alternative?

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It's easy to get hooked. Photo via

Maybe Robert Palmer's assertions aren't so far off—according to AsapSCIENCE, love's effect on our minds is similar to cocaine's. Love and cocaine both lower the threshold at which the brain's pleasure centers fire, making it much easier to feel really good. Not only does this make the target of your affections seem that much lovelier, it also makes everything you experience in life seem just great. Pain and aversion centers also start firing less, which means stuff that usually gets you down doesn't bother you as much. Cocaine, orgasms or even just looking at a loved one can all flood the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine—the chemicals behind that racing heart feeling, sexual arousal and “motivation, craving and desire to be with the person more and more." But the similarities between cocaine and love end with serotonin, the chemical that suppresses obsessive thinking: In love (as in those with OCD), serotonin levels are low, resulting in an inability to think about anything except your special someone all day long. Cocaine, on the other hand, increases serotonin levels. Check out the video to see how love messes with your mind:

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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