What happens when you’re in love?

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 Juan Carlos Campos

Juan Carlos Campos

A psychology teacher gives insight to what happens inside your body when you’re in love.

By Katherine Garcia

kgarcia203@student.alamo.edu

Valentine’s Day is coming, and that means love, chocolates and romance.

But did you know what happens to your body when you are in love?

Cay Crow, who teaches PSCH 2301, General Psychology, and PSCH 2306, Human Sexuality, offers some insight.

Crow said when one first falls in love, the physical intensity and excitement in the body can be overwhelming.

“When you are newly in love, your natural endorphins increase as does phenylethylamine which increases blood flow to all areas of the body. Your adrenaline is up, increasing levels of general well-being.”

Crow said that according to Helen Fisher’s book, “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,” people in love have high activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a part of the brain’s reward system.

“Dopamine is increased in the VTA,” Crow said. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is the ‘gimme’ drug.”

Crow said that serotonin in the nucleus accumbens, another controller of the brain’s reward system, is a neurotransmitter released when those in love feel satisfied.

Pheromones, a unique chemical each person gives off, are among the factors people consider in finding someone attractive, Crow said.

“But liking the way someone smells will not predict the longevity of the relationship,” Crow added.

Crow said attraction factors include people sharing the same belief system, interests, values, intellectual abilities, or close proximity.

Crow explained that people fear telling that special someone how they feel because they fear rejection.

“Love looks and feels like a drug to the brain; when love is unrequited or does not work out, the experience is quite painful to the mind and the body,” she said.

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