A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that origin of love and drug addiction are both linked with the same region of the brain.
Researchers led by Professor Jim Pfaus, from Concordia University in Montreal, drew map of love and desire in the brain by observing people who were shown erotic pictures or images of their partners or spouses. The researchers also collected data from 20 different studies which showed that two regions of the brain, insula and striatum, play a vital role in sexual desire and love.
The researchers found that the same "reward" neurons that are activated following an inherently pleasurable activity, such as eating favorite food, also responded to sexual desire while the region of the brain associated with love responded only after a complex conditioning process which required a need to repeat high value reward sensations.
"Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded. It works the same way in the brain as when people become addicted to drugs. While sexual desire has a very specific goal, love is more abstract and complex, so it's less dependent on the physical presence of someone else", Professor Pfaus said.