Helen Ramirez / The Bull
Deep within the center of the brain lies the limbic system which is home to all emotions. It is in this tiny walnut- sized area of the brain, where passion first begins.
It is a neurotransmitter or chemical in the brain that triggers the desire and reward mechanism in the brain, stimulating a rush of pleasure.
Anthropologist, Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She compares the rush of love to the brain to that of the rush of cocaine.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the brain produces high levels of dopamine when a person is falling in love and addicted to a drug. According to the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, the VTA is known as one of the pleasure centers of the brain whose role is to reward the body for carrying out vital functions. The happy sensations felt when someone eats their favorite food is the VTA working.
A brain chemical that serves as a mood stabilizer for reducing irritability and depression, according to Mosby’s Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It is important because it helps regulate bodily functions such as emotions, appetite, and sleep patterns.
In 1999, Donatella Marazziti, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pisa in Italy conducted a study to measure the serotonin levels in the blood of 24 people who said they had fallen in love within the six months prior to the study and obsessed about this person for at least four hours every day. Marazziti then compared the lovers’ serotonin levels with a group of people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and another group free of both passion and mental illness. The results showed that serotonin levels in lovers and OCD subjects was about 40 percent lower than those in her normal subjects.
Studies such as Marazziti’s have helped researchers connect low serotonin levels to the obsessive thinking experienced when falling in love.