(Telegraph) Love is a drug as powerful as morphine and any painkiller
Intense romantic love really is like a drug, claim scientists, after finding it can be as effective as morphine for relieving pain.
Passions triggered by the early flushes of a relationship block physical pain in a similar way to painkillers and drugs, a study has shown.
Scientists in the US tested the theory on 15 male and female university students who were in the passionate early stages of a love affair.
They were shown photos of their partners while a computer-controlled heat probe placed in the palms of their hands delivered mild doses of pain.
At the same time, the students had their brains scanned by a functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) imaging machine. The study showed that feelings of love, triggered by seeing a photo of one’s beloved, acted as a powerful pain killer. Focusing on a photo of an attractive acquaintance rather than a relationship partner did not have the same benefit.
The scans revealed that the effects of love could be compared with those of morphine and cocaine, both of which target the brain’s “reward centres”.
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