söndag 23 januari 2011

Love addiction.

There is a beautiful post written by Brain Blogger, Addicted to Love. In a new study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (number 2), investigators examined and compared the clinical, psychological and biological details of love, passion, sex, gambling, and substance dependence. It turns out that an addiction to love is almost indistinguishable from other addictions.

Some abstracts:

Timmreck TC. "Overcoming the loss of a love: preventing love addiction and promoting positive emotional health." Psychol Rep. 1990 Apr;66(2):515-28. The term "love addiction" has been applied to persons who obsessively seek to regain the pleasurable love state which existed with a former love relationship. Dysfunctional emotional conditions such as distrust, feelings of rejection, loss of self-worth, deep-seated anger, feelings of failure, loss, and an array of other emotional distress and self-defeating behaviors arise in the emotionally hurt person. Emotional distress must be dealt with. Rational self-counseling and psychotherapy can be effective in helping a jilted person work through periods of distress and may help to reestablish emotional well being and good mental health. Counseling can assist the person in moving into new relationships, help the hurt person abandon dysfunctional behaviors and feelings, and aid the client in resuming a normal life.

Reynaud M, Karila L, Blecha L, & Benyamina A (2010). "Is Love Passion an Addictive Disorder?" The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse PMID: 20545601
After describing the clinical distinctions between "love passion," "love addiction," and "sex addiction," we compare clinical, neuropsychological, neurobiological, and neuroimaging data on love, passion, pathological gambling (PG) and substance dependence.
There are no recognized definitions or diagnostic criteria for "love addiction," but its phenomenology has some similarities to substance dependence: euphoria and unrestrained desire in the presence of the love object or associated stimuli (drug intoxication); negative mood, anhedonia, and sleep disturbance when separated from the love object (drug withdrawal); focussed attention on and intrusive thoughts about the love object; and maladaptive or problematic patterns of behavior (love relation) leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, with pursuit despite knowledge of adverse consequences. Limited animal and human studies suggest that brain regions (e.g., insula, anterior cingulated [ACC], orbitofrontal [OFC]) and neurotransmitters (dopamine) that mediate substance dependence may also be involved with love addiction (as for PG). Ocytocin (OT), which is implicated in social attachment and mating behavior, may also be involved in substance dependence. There are no data on the epidemiology, genetics, co-morbidity, or treatment of love addiction.
There are currently insufficient data to place some cases of "love passion" within a clinical disorder, such as "love addiction," in an official diagnostic nomenclature or to firmly classify it as a behavioral addiction or disorder of impulse control.

Waller KL, MacDonald TK. "Trait self-esteem moderates the effect of initiator status on emotional and cognitive responses to romantic relationship dissolution." J Pers. 2010 Aug 1;78(4):1271-99. Epub 2010 Jun 1. We hypothesized that the effect of initiator status on post breakup distress would vary as a function of trait self-esteem, such that individuals with low self-esteem would experience more distress after being rejected by their partners, whereas, among individuals with high self-esteem, initiator status would not predict distress. We used a prospective design in which university students (N=66) were assessed for emotional responses following the dissolution of their real-life romantic relationships, as well as a laboratory design in which students (N=190) imagined breaking up with their partners. As predicted, participants with lower trait self-esteem exhibited greater distress after experiencing or imagining a romantic rejection than after ending or imagining themselves ending their relationships. Conversely, distress experienced by those with high trait self-esteem did not differ as a function of who ended the relationship. Implications for understanding self-esteem processes and the effects of romantic rejection are discussed.

Slotter EB, Gardner WL, Finkel EJ. "Who am I without you? The influence of romantic breakup on the self-concept." Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2010 Feb;36(2):147-60. Epub 2009 15.12 Romantic relationships alter the selves of the individuals within them. Partners develop shared friends and activities and even overlapping self-concepts. This intertwining of selves may leave individuals' self-concepts vulnerable to change if the relationship ends. The current research examines several different types of self-concept change that could occur after a breakup and their relation to emotional distress. Across three studies, using varied methodologies, the authors examined change in both the content (Study 1a and 1b) and the structure of the self-concept, specifically, reduced self-concept clarity (Studies 1 through 3). As predicted, individuals experienced self-concept content change and reduced self-concept clarity post-breakup. Additionally, reduced clarity uniquely predicted post-breakup emotional distress.

Bechtoldt MN, De Dreu CK, Nijstad BA, Zapf D. "Self-concept clarity and the management of social conflict." J Pers. 2010 Apr;78(2):539-74. In 4 studies we examined the relationship between self-concept clarity and conflict management. Individuals with higher self-concept clarity were overall more active and showed more cooperative problem-solving behavior than people with low self-concept clarity. There were no relationships with contending or yielding. The positive relationship with cooperative behavior was mediated by less rumination (Study 2) and moderated by conflict intensity (Study 3). Specifically, it applied to relatively mild conflicts (Study 3). Finally, Study 4 extended these findings to the group level: Dyad members with higher self-concept clarity engaged in problem solving, whereas dyad members with lower self-concept clarity did not. We conclude that higher self-concept clarity associates with proactive problem solving in social conflict.

De Dreu CK, van Knippenberg D. "The possessive self as a barrier to conflict resolution: effects of mere ownership, process accountability, and self-concept clarity on competitive cognitions and behavior." J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Sep;89(3):345-57. ...propose that people have difficulty managing conflict because they quickly develop ownership of arguments and positions they use in the dispute, that these arguments and positions become part of their (extended) self-concept, and that any opposition or counterargumentation therefore becomes an ego-threat. Four studies reveal that individuals value arguments and beliefs more when these are associated with the self and that anticipated or real opposition triggers ego-defensive cognition and behavior, including competitive communication, retaliatory responses, negative perceptions of the partner, and attitude polarization. These effects were weaker when epistemic needs were raised through process accountability or when individuals had high rather than low self-concept clarity. The authors conclude that because people develop ownership of arguments and make these part of their self-concept, conflict is difficult to manage and bound to escalate.

Stucke TS, Sporer SL. "When a grandiose self-image is threatened: narcissism and self-concept clarity as predictors of negative emotions and aggression following ego-threat." J Pers. 2002 Aug;70(4):509-32. ... relation between narcissism, self-concept clarity, negative emotions, and aggression based on theoretical assumptions proposed by Baumeister, Smart, and Boden (1996). Narcissism and self-concept clarity were examined as predictors for anger, depression, and verbal aggression following ego-threat, which was operationalized by a bogus performance feedback on an intelligence test. The second study also examined the mediating effects of participants' negative emotions to provide an additional explanation for the aggressive reactions after failure. As expected, narcissism and self-concept clarity were significant predictors of negative emotions and aggression after failure. In accordance with our hypothesis, high narcissists with low self-concept clarity reacted with anger and aggression after failure, whereas less narcissistic individuals with high self-concept clarity showed feelings of depression and no aggression. The results also indicated that aggression was always directed toward the source of the ego-threatening feedback. Additionally, anger and depression could predict the aggressive response after failure but they did not mediate the relation between narcissism, self-concept clarity, performance feedback, and aggression.

McGregor IS, Callaghan PD, Hunt GE. "From ultrasocial to antisocial: a role for oxytocin in the acute reinforcing effects and long-term adverse consequences of drug use?" Br J Pharmacol. 2008 May;154(2):358-68. Addictive drugs can profoundly affect social behaviour both acutely and in the long-term. Effects range from the artificial sociability imbued by various intoxicating agents to the depressed and socially withdrawn state frequently observed in chronic drug users. In this review we focus on the 'social neuropeptide' oxytocin and its possible role in acute and long-term effects of commonly used drugs. Oxytocin regulates social affiliation and social recognition in many species and modulates anxiety, mood and aggression. Recent evidence suggests that popular party drugs such as MDMA and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) may preferentially activate brain oxytocin systems to produce their characteristic prosocial and prosexual effects. Oxytocin interacts with the mesolimbic dopamine system to facilitate sexual and social behaviour, and this oxytocin-dopamine interaction may also influence the acquisition and expression of drug-seeking behaviour. An increasing body of evidence from animal models suggests that even brief exposure to drugs such as MDMA, cannabinoids, methamphetamine and phencyclidine can cause long lasting deficits in social behaviour. We discuss preliminary evidence that these adverse effects may reflect long-term neuroadaptations in brain oxytocin systems. Laboratory studies and preliminary clinical studies also indicate that raising brain oxytocin levels may ameliorate acute drug withdrawal symptoms. It is concluded that oxytocin may play an important, yet largely unexplored, role in drug addiction.

Koob GF, Le Moal M. "Drug addiction, dysregulation of reward, and allostasis." Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Feb;24(2):97-129. ...developments in the neurocircuitry and neurobiology of addiction from a perspective of allostasis. A model is proposed for brain changes that occur during the development of addiction that explain the persistent vulnerability to relapse long after drug-taking has ceased. Addiction is presented as a cycle of spiralling dysregulation of brain reward systems that progressively increases, resulting in the compulsive use and loss of control over drug-taking. The development of addiction recruits different sources of reinforcement, different neuroadaptive mechanisms, and different neurochemical changes to dysregulate the brain reward system. Counteradaptive processes such as opponent-process that are part of normal homeostatic limitation of reward function fail to return within the normal homeostatic range and are hypothesized to form an allostatic state. Allostasis from the addiction perspective is defined as the process of maintaining apparent reward function stability by changes in brain reward mechanisms. The allostatic state represents a chronic deviation of reward set point and is fueled not only by dysregulation of reward circuits per se, but also by the activation of brain and hormonal stress responses. The manifestation of this allostatic state as compulsive drug-taking and loss of control over drug-taking is hypothesized to be expressed through activation of brain circuits involved in compulsive behavior such as the cortico-striatal-thalamic loop. The view that addiction is the pathology that results from an allostatic mechanism using the circuits established for natural rewards provides a realistic approach to identifying the neurobiological factors that produce vulnerability to addiction and relapse.

Koob GF, Le Moal M. "Addiction and the brain antireward system." Annu Rev Psychol. 2008;59:29-53. ...this model may generalize to other psychopathology associated with dysregulated motivational systems. In this framework, addiction is conceptualized as a cycle of decreased function of brain reward systems and recruitment of antireward systems that progressively worsen, resulting in the compulsive use of drugs. Counteradaptive processes, such as opponent process, that are part of the normal homeostatic limitation of reward function fail to return within the normal homeostatic range and are hypothesized to repeatedly drive the allostatic state. Excessive drug taking thus results in not only the short-term amelioration of the reward deficit but also suppression of the antireward system. However, in the long term, there is worsening of the underlying neurochemical dysregulations that ultimately form an allostatic state (decreased dopamine and opioid peptide function, increased corticotropin-releasing factor activity). This allostatic state is hypothesized to be reflected in a chronic deviation of reward set point that is fueled not only by dysregulation of reward circuits per se but also by recruitment of brain and hormonal stress responses. Vulnerability to addiction may involve genetic comorbidity and developmental factors at the molecular, cellular, or neurocircuitry levels that sensitize the brain antireward systems.

Feltenstein MW, See RE. "The neurocircuitry of addiction: an overview." Br J Pharmacol. 2008 May;154(2):261-74. Epub 2008 Mar 3. ...we will give a broad overview of various theories of addiction, animal models of addiction and relapse, drugs of abuse, and the neurobiology of drug dependence and relapse. Although drugs of abuse possess diverse neuropharmacological profiles, activation of the mesocorticolimbic system, particularly the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, amygdala and prefrontal cortex via dopaminergic and glutamatergic pathways, constitutes a common pathway by which various drugs of abuse mediate their acute reinforcing effects. However, long-term neuroadaptations in this circuitry likely underlie the transition to drug dependence and cycles of relapse.

Kalant H. "What neurobiology cannot tell us about addiction." Addiction. 2010 May;105(5):780-9. Epub 2009 Nov 17. Molecular neurobiological studies have yielded enormous amounts of valuable information about neuronal response mechanisms and their adaptive changes. However, in relation to addiction this information is of limited value because almost every cell function appears to be involved. Thus it tells us only that neurons adapt to 'addictive drugs' as they do to all sorts of other functional disturbances. This information may be of limited help in the development of potential auxiliary agents for treatment of addiction. However, a reductionist approach which attempts to analyse addiction at ever finer levels of structure and function, is inherently incapable of explaining what causes these mechanisms to be brought into play in some cases and not in others, or by self-administration of a drug but not by passive exposure. There is abundant evidence that psychological, social, economic and specific situational factors play important roles in initiating addiction, in addition to genetic and other biological factors. Therefore, if we hope to be able to make predictions at any but a statistical level, or to develop effective means of prevention, it is necessary to devise appropriate integrative approaches to the study of addiction, rather than pursue an ever-finer reductive approach which leads steadily farther away from the complex interaction of drug, user, environment and specific situations that characterizes the problem in humans.

What does this tell us? We must use the reward system in the treatment, and love is an important factor. Maybe deficit of love is the reason? So the cure would be to find good substitutes for love?

This is about almost every disturbance we can have, and it also invokes on homeostasis regulation and therefore on our health.

Relations are important.

2 kommentarer:

  1. http://scitechstory.com/2010/03/15/psychopaths-love-them-some-dopamine/
    “Psychopaths’ Brains Wired to Seek Rewards, No Matter What the Cost” and “Psychopaths Produce Excessive Dopamine.” The original story is in Nature Neuroscience under the website title Psychopathic traits correlate with hyperreactive dopamine signaling. The paper itself is titled Mesolimbic dopamine reward system hypersensitivity in individuals with psychopathic traits. Those people with elevated psychopathic traits showed much higher activity in the dopamine reward area of the brain (the nucleus accumbens) while anticipating the reward.

    “It may be that because of these exaggerated dopamine responses, once they focus on the chance to get a reward, psychopaths are unable to alter their attention until they get what they’re after.” Added [David] Zald, “It’s not just that they don’t appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns.”

    Dopamine is a key to treating psychopathology? A drug against reward and love?

  2. When it comes to treating love addiction, there are many programs available to help "love addicts" recover from their addiction. What's important is the willingness of the person to change.