Drunk in Love? How Being in Love Affects Your Brain

From the Show: HER
Summary: Some research suggests that being in love has similar effects of being on cocaine.
Air Date: 2/5/15
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Lucy Brown, PhD
Lucy Brown Lucy L. Brown, PhD, is a neuroscientist and Clinical Professor in Neurology at Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She received her PhD in Experimental/Physiological Psychology from NYU in 1973. During a post-doctoral fellowship at Einstein, she worked on visualizing dopamine neurons and testing their plasticity in reward systems.

She also learned about functional brain mapping techniques during the fellowship, and continued at Einstein as a grant-funded investigator. She was Director of the Laboratory for Functional Neuroanatomy and Movement Disorders for over twenty years. Her area of expertise is the neuroanatomy of the somatosensory and motor systems.

Together with Art Aron and Helen Fisher she pioneered studies of the neuroscience of romantic love. These studies have had clinical relevance as we begin to better understand drug addictions, and depression after heartbreak. Currently, she collaborates with several investigators on brain imaging of love, personality traits, and mobility and cognition in normal aging.
Drunk in Love? How Being in Love Affects Your Brain
Beyoncé might have been right all along: you may actually feel like you're "drunk in love" with your partner.

Love can be mysterious, thrilling, confusing, and even painful; but research suggests that your brain lights up the same way as if you were high on cocaine.

If you've ever experienced being in love, you know it's full of emotional roller coaster highs and lows.

In fact, a neuroscience professor associated with Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Lucy Brown, PhD, has conducted a study on MRI scans of individuals who are in the beginning phase of being in love. Dr. Brown found that these individuals' ventral tegmental area (VTA) of their brain (the same part of the brain that is active during a cocaine or other drug high) becomes active.

Does being in love affect any other part of your body and brain?

Dr. Brown discusses what happens to your body and brain when you're in love.