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Killing love by antidepressants to bring a desperate lover back to life. (Is extreme love a disease ?)

Love and obsession share the same neuro-chemical properties. studies have shown that people with low serotonin levels in their brain, are more prone to fall in a love and normal healthy people who fall in love, show a decrease in their brain serotonin level.

It is possible to fall out of love by taking antidepressants of SSRI (Specific Serotonin Reptake Inhibitor) family that increase the serotonin neuro transmitter level in brain synaptic space. It is proven that many people lose the ability to love by getting such medication to the point that this becomes an unwanted side effect of such antidepressants that threatens the relationship of couples that were in love but suffered from some kind of depression or anxiety.

Although initially it seems a bad idea to make people love-incapable, and specially considering the current world condition that seems to need love more than ever, it may be a good idea to use it for special love cases that are extreme and disables one's ability to live a normal life.

to me, love is the most beautiful and the most vital concept in life. That is why the extra ordinary pieces in literature are on love, like Romeo and Juliet; Odysseus and Penelope; Antony and Cleopatra; Lancelot and Guinevere , etc. I admire these lovers but doubt that such great love is considered healthy in today's world and shall it be considered a mental disease ?

such great love is an ocean of emotion and once it turns to a tragedy will soon be the lover's number one enemy. it will directly and indirectly affect the quality of life to the point that one is not willing to pursue normal life and reject all other kinds of pleasure, blinding oneself to anything but the great love of one's unique beloved. Is it okay to be such unconditional ultimate lover or it is better to manage the feelings by serotonin altering medication since logic is no good in the land of love.

  • Mar 22 2012: Some people think love is insanity, but I think the opposite is true. You're not healthy when you see the absence of love everywhere.. that's what makes you depressed in the first place!

    When you have experiences like loosing someone you love or a relationship not working out its easy to become skeptical that love even exists at all. And so we choose to withdraw from the belief in 'love'. But I think the answer isn't to love less, but to love more.

    Shifting your focus from why you don't need love (and therefore that person you lost) to why you do need and enjoy the love of everyone else around you, and you regain that feeling of security and life being worthwhile.

    And there will always be people who will let you down but if you keep your heart open and trust there will be people who you will eventually come across who will always be there for you. And you'll return the favor by putting them before your own needs too.

    I think when love becomes negative or obsessive in a romantic relationship it's not the love that's at fault- it's the opposite, the fear, the perceived lack of love (in the rest of the world), that causes all the problems. If you felt that you would always find someone to love and who will love you, then you'd never begin acting on fear within your life and relationship.

    I think 'extreme love' as you talk about it, is when you perceive that one person to be the only source of love or only think worthy of your own love, and therefore it becomes dark and obsessive. It's like focusing on one thing to the detriment of your own life, not taking care of yourself anymore.
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      Mar 22 2012: Dear Michael,

      Thank you for your excellent response. I do agree that once you learn and/or begin loving what is surrounding you and perhaps let go of the fear of losing your only source of love, world will become a better and a more beautiful one to live in. this will probably keep the anxiety and panic away and replace them with feeling of security and joy.

      I am aware of the existence of a kind of love that will encompass the whole world and the existence and life itself. BUT this particular kind of love I am talking about which is the Romeo and Juliet type refuses to acknowledge the possibility of finding other sources of love and that is historically how love is defined. people who never stop loving one person even after years and being through difficulties but they just do not love another. It is what makes love so unique because it is not selfish and does not seek what is beneficial for the lover and often it is quite the opposite.

      I am telling you this from my own experience of love that refuses to look for other sources of love and it is also the same in literature (literature presents the pure state of a concept in life) Dr Zhivago for example, loves one girl all his life. such love is beyond the marriage, distance, war and difficulties. but is that love really a healthy state to be in or it is just an obsession ?
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    Mar 1 2012: Personally, I do believe obsessive love could be thrown into the DSM as another mental illness, or at least labelled as pathological behavior (unless it is already covered under Dependent Personality Disorder or another diagnosis), for no other reason than it seems like it belongs there with the rest of the disorders that are listed. And there is no doubt that a significant number of people in the world are so obsessed with an individual that it impairs their quality of life, so I definitely think that such people could benefit from therapeutic approaches tailored to deal with that particular issue.

    I would draw the line at treating such a disorder with medicine, however. But this says more about me and my views on psychiatric medication than it does about the potential efficacy of such medication in treating people suffering from extreme-love obsession. It should be a treatment option available to those who wish it, but it bothers me tremendously because I feel like it's a great mistake to force yourself to fall out of love with a person via meds.
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      Mar 1 2012: Thank you for your well crafted comment Aaron.
      My question to you is that whether impairing one's quality of life is a good reason to consider "obsessive" love a disease ? isn't that what happens to all heroic lovers in the literature we teach and admire and take as role models ? isn't this impairment of life quality the price we pay for love as there is always the risk of break up or worse, never reaching ?
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    Mar 5 2012: Dear Daniela,

    what a joy it is to read your insightful comments.
    I o agree that using SSRIs will simple turn the feelings grey and one will not have the chance to grow through the pain. as pain can sometimes drive people forward and shape the personality creating a patient and mature one. but as you said the person must be resilient and strong. I suppose one may fail many times but keep trying to finally get out of the pain successfully with lessons learned and new horizons in sight.
    • Mar 5 2012: Exactly, learning from our experiences is what makes us who we are. Sadly, some people seem to lack the capabilities or support needed to embrace every life experience, good or bad, and learn from them, realizing that the course of life is always unpredictable.
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    Mar 5 2012: Dear Daniela,

    you have mentioned that love is a feeling that involves two people. and that opened a totally new dimension to this discussion. I would not myself advocate for the use of SSRIs in case of mutual love, doesn't matter how extreme it becomes. but i noticed that when I asked the question I had a one way extreme love in mind. I did not mention that in my question and I may have introduced a bias to the discussion that is addressed by your point. There is no doubt the one way love will hurt, will you support using SSRIs in this new scenario ?
    • Mar 5 2012: I think that human beings can effectively handle their emotions in postive ways. Even though it is true that we may need help and support. However, I think that a person can heal from the pain of one way extreme love without using SSRI's as a resource. Even the pain resulting from not being loved may result in positive outcomes, not always, but if the person is resilient and strong, he or she can learn plenty of things from that experience.
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    Mar 2 2012: Great question Sina. I had recently read about antidepressants making it hard for people to fall in love. Of course there are drugs that stimulate love as well... I did not consider however that not being able to fall inlove was a good idea. My instinctive reaction was "How horrible - not being able to fall in love."

    I understand your concern re. the extremities of love, but start taking love away and you start taking life away. Yes there are plenty of casualties in love and It does make for the great stories in history both tragic and otherwise.

    No, dont take love away.
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      Mar 5 2012: Greetings Philip,

      I have never heard of the medication that can reduce the synaptic serotonin level in brain and make people more prone to fall in love. I am sure that is more important than turning the love of extreme lovers grey. in a world in which ignorance is considered strength i would advise to put the medication in city water resources, that may actually make a difference.
  • Mar 2 2012: Dear Sina

    Your question is quite interesting and challenging. However, I think that we can argue that extreme love, being harmful, would be considered unhealthy. The most challenging part of the argument is that considering the nature of love is not a simple task. First of all, most of the time love is a feeling that involves two people. Whether love results in negative or postive outcomes depends on probably infinite variables, such as a range of other feelings, attitudes, expectations and behaviors. Moreover, every person reacts diferently to each situation they encounter. Nonetheless, in my opinion, if love goes to a point where one is being physically or emotionally hurt, experiencing distress and having their quality of life affected in a negative way, then I would consider that type of love to be unhealthy. On the other hand, with all things considered, I would not advocate for the use of SSRI's as means to end feelings of love, no matter the type.
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      Mar 2 2012: Dear Adriaan,

      Thank you for your beautiful reply. I would like to question the existence of love that is not obsessive. is there such a thing ? is that "state of insanity" must ever be cured even if it is not dangerous to others but may affect the life quality of the lover himself ?
      and questioning your last argument, I think selfless obsession with the happiness of the other in mind may be possible.
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          Mar 2 2012: What a pleasure it is to read your comments. Thank you very much for the link of the book you recommended. I very much enjoyed the paragraph you quoted from the book and I guess I will enjoy reading it as well despite the differences we have in our belief foundations.

          loving the mankind is not easy. not everyone can be a philanthropist like mother Teressa and love all the colors in the rainbow but as simple small individuals, It is surprising how many mother Teressa we can find when it comes to loving a significant individual. stories of love and selflessness that will remain untold forever.

          I also took the liberty of checking your website which i found to be rich in many other literature and books available for download.
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          Mar 2 2012: It's so kind of you Dear Adriaan, you are warm in the heart and that is what I feel in all your messages. Bingo genesis , the rock band it is ... and I may have also had the creation of existence in mind but that is just a secondary intention ! ;)
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    Mar 2 2012: Oh and is love a disease? No, quite the opposite.
  • Mar 1 2012: This is an interesting issue, whether extreme love is healthy or unhealthy for our lives. However, psychotropic medications pose another problem that is really distinct. These medications modify our chemical neuronal communication and this is the base of behavioral and physiological effects in the patient taking the medications. Even though they are highly effective to treat certain mental disorders in certain patients, they still present serious side effects, issues with drug tolerance and withdrawal.
    On the other hand, I believe that love compliments our lives. Even when we have negative experiences because of love gone array, we can still construct those instances into learning experiences.
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      Mar 2 2012: Dear Daniela,

      is it possible to logically argue the extreme love being healthy or unhealthy for our lives ? if considering the fact that extreme love may harm the lover and affect his quality of life, will that be enough to consider such love unhealthy ? being a psychologist, may you shed light on this issue ?
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    Mar 1 2012: Good point and much interesting to keep in mind.
    The story though isn't about love but about sexual attraction and bonding that we call love.
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      Mar 2 2012: I doubt that story is about sexual attraction and bonding as Love, Sexual attraction and bonding are three different concepts that are affected with three different hormones in brain namely, serotonin, dopamine and Oxytocin. my question is regarding the love only.