Thursday, March 26, 2009

Romance and Science

Romantic love can and has been explained in a myriad of ways and now there is the clinical one :

At a different APA forum, "Sex, Sexuality, and Serotonin," Dr Fisher warned that antidepressants may jeopardize romantic love. As well as high dopamine and norepinephrine, she said, romantic love is characterized by low serotonin. Low serotonin would explain the obsessive thinking attached to romantic love. In her MRI study, her subjects reported that they thought about their loved one 95 percent of the day and couldn’t stop thinking about them. This kind of obsessive thinking is comparable to OCD, she said, also characterized by low serotonin.

Serotonin-enhancing antidepressants, she said, blunt the emotions, including the elation of romance, and suppress obsessive thinking, a critical component of romance.

Without trying to understand any of the technical detail, it seems that in order to fully experience romantic love you would need to be a little depressed (cloudy skies, incessant rain and a general sense of boredom can only help) and stay away for anything that provides a serotonin high - sex (which would makes sense being be more about lust and less about romantic love) and chocolate (I am not quite able to make the connection with this one - why would a decadent bar of chocolate be a deterrent to romance specially when gifting chocolate is one of the most common expressions of love) are the well-knows ones but there must be a bunch of others.

If all it took for parents to cure their infatuated teens of their unsuitable and often harmful romances was to keep feeding them a lot of dark chocolate, life would be incredibly simplified. For some reason, I don't believe that is either true or even possible.

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