Euphoria season two has delved into the devastating reality of teenage drug addiction, as main character Rue (Zendaya) hits rock bottom after becoming addicted to opioids.
Rue’s backstory of family trauma and access to high-intensity medication from an early age triggered her addiction. In the same way, Cassie’s upbringing, with an alcoholic mother, drug dependent father, and being over-sexualised by men, created a dependency for love and male validation.
For Rue, the object of her addiction is prescription drugs, for Cassie, it’s love. Martin Preston, Founder & Chief Executive at private rehab clinic Delamere, explains why love addiction can be just as intense as drug and alcohol dependency, and the signs and symptoms to look out for.
Martin Preston, Founder & Chief Executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere says;
“Love and Sex addiction, are both behavioural and intimacy disorders that are often overlooked because they don’t involve a substance. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful, as it can often cause damage in personal relationships with friends, family and loved ones.
“When it comes to addiction it is entirely possible that an individual may suffer from more than one dependency at a time or replace one with another when they are in recovery. In fact, even though love addiction may not directly involve a substance, the rewarding chemicals that are released when a person is in love can be just as intense as addictive drugs like alcohol, cocaine and heroin.
“The highs experienced can also have a similar impact on behaviour, such as extreme risk-taking and chemical changes in the brain. Treatment should seek to address the issues where any dependency originates from and help to established more healthy behaviour.
“Without treatment that focuses on underlying issues, a person who is in recovery from substance dependency may use love or sex as a replacement. If the cycle of unhealthy behaviour isn’t resolved, love can induce similar reactions in the brain that are felt when on a high from alcohol and drugs.”
What is love addiction?Though it is one of the most commonly misunderstood addictions, love and sex addiction wreak havoc on a person’s life, especially their personal relationships with themselves and others.Unlike sex addiction, love addiction always involves another person, even if they are not in a relationship with them.
Being in love causes pleasurable chemical reactions to occur in the brain, and play a crucial role in an individual developing close bonds with a significant other.
Being in love can become a problem however when an individual becomes obsessed with the subconscious release of these chemicals induced through dysfunctional yet rewarding behaviours associated with love.
In fact, many scientists have drawn comparisons between the release of rewarding chemicals that occurs in romantic love and the artificial simulation of these chemicals in addictive drugs like alcohol.
Signs and Symptoms of love addiction
- Putting themselves and their children at risk through introducing strangers into the family home.
- Fear of being on their own. A love addict may jump from relationship to relationship to avoid being on their own.
- Feeling physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when love is unrequited or when a relationship ends.
- Becoming aggressive and manipulative or inflicting physical and emotional pain on their loved ones when their expectations aren’t met.
- Placing their mental and physical health at risk through staying in abusive and dissatisfying or toxic relationships
- Thinking that the perfect relationship exists and finding it will solve all of their problems.
- Difficulties with intimacy. Never feeling loved enough or becoming quickly tired of relationships when the honeymoon period is over.
- Tendency to pursue relationships in an obsessive manner or creating a fictional relationship with unavailable individuals in order to avoid true intimacy.