Love_pain_drug

Love_pain_drug

Who says love hurts? New research shows that strong romantic feelings actually ease physical pain via the same neural pathways as powerful drugs.

By simply gazing at a picture of their beloved, undergraduates in a recent study were able to substantially reduce their experience of pain. The effect occurs thanks to a boost in the reward centers in the brain, according to the results, published online October 13 in PLoS ONE.

“The areas of the brain activated by intense love are the same areas that drugs use to reduce pain,” Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and coauthor of the new study, said in a prepared statement. “There is intense activation in the reward area of the brain—the same area that lights up when you take cocaine, the same area that lights up when you win a lot of money.” Although previous studies have shown that loving feelings can mitigate feelings of pain, this was the first to look at the brain areas at work during the process.

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