Does Love Exist?by Isabel Thottam
If you’ve found yourself searching the Internet with terms such as, “does love exist?” or “is love real?” you might be questioning how you feel toward someone. But “love” is hard to define because, well, it’s rather ambiguous and we can all experience and express it in different ways. Some of us might view it as something written in the stars or as mere lust and attraction, while others view it as an intense, powerful feeling or some chemistry they feel toward another person.
It’s an exciting feeling and something we all seem to strive for–but does it exists or is it a social contrast were made to believe is real?
To understand whether or not love actually does exist, we can look to science to see what happens to our bodies when we experience this feeling we all refer to as love. If love does exist, this is what’s going on in our bodies when we have that intense feeling.
It’s in your brain, not your heart.
Contrary to what we like to say and believe, the feeling of love doesn’t occur in our hearts, at least scientifically. Instead, it happens in our brain when we release hormones (oxytocin, dopamine, adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen, and vasopressin) that create a mix of feelings: euphoria, pleasure or bonding.
Our emotions exist in our brain’s temporal lobe, inside its limbic system, with the amygdala at its center. This is where our brain processes hormones and release emotions, such as fear, anger, desire and love.
Some people refer to oxytocin as the “love hormone” because of how it’s associated with feelings of attachment and bonding.
Love is similar to addiction
Some scientists compare falling in love to the experiences a drug addict endures because of the similar levels of dopamine released. When you fall in love, your brain releases the hormone and you feel a rush similar to the kick one receives when taking a hit of cocaine.
Like cocaine, your brain becomes addicted to the rewarding feeling of “love” and wants to keep the source of it around, hence why you might fall deeply in love (or infatuated) with another person. And if you were to lose someone you love or experience a break up, your body will experience withdrawal.
So does love exist?
Love is hard to define because what some people call love others call infatuation. While some say is a biological construct we’re all born with, others say that love is a social construct designed by the media.
The scientific study of love is still ongoing, as there hasn’t been any hard evidence to determine whether or not love is, in fact, real–or that it’s just made up and merely exists in our minds. But, what we can say is that when studies are conducted on these feelings of love, researchers do find that parts of our brain and its reward system are active.