I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, love is one helluva a drug. Case in point — we’ve all known someone who has behaved like a jonesin’ heroin addict over the demise of a romantic relationship. Perhaps it was a former boyfriend or girlfriend of yours, perhaps it was a family member, perhaps, God forbid, it was you.

These people, much like a bug-eyed toothless tweaker, will stop at nothing to get their “fix,” calling the dealer (or former lover), flooding their voicemail with incoherent messages, driving by their house at all hours of the night, and interrogating their friends as to the whereabouts and status of the missing candy man or woman. Right at this moment, I know someone dealing with a former girlfriend who has decided to flip on the “psycho switch.” As for myself, I’ve been in his situation, and as for her, I guess I’ve been there, too — just not as to such a wacky Fatal Attraction type of extent.

Immediately after a failed relationship, I’ve ended up completely heartbroken and devastated. Being the cynical commitment-phobe that I am, the few times I’ve thrown myself into a devoted union with reckless abandon, I put everything I can into it. And sadly, it becomes an extremely all-consuming affair. My work suffers, my friendships suffer, and my priorities revolve around my boyfriend and his current wants or needs. So when the once passionate fire flickers and fades, all of a sudden I’m lost. Much to my embarrassment, I start behaving like a spastic junkie, trying to figure out where I went wrong and if there’s a way to get another taste of ecstasy. For the most part, I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to relying on my own identity without the presence of some dude. I’ve become a fairly happy, swinging bachelorette, but know that deep down it’s just a defensive cover to protect myself from more heartache. It’s easy when you will yourself into not giving a damn!

In a way, it’s almost like I sent myself to rehab — I broke an addiction, made my peace, and currently keep myself busy with much healthier, more productive endeavors. Isn’t it funny how something as virtuous as love can lead to something so self-destructive when it becomes an obsession? And how it can turn otherwise normal, sane people into raving lunatics?

Most sullen, teenage poets sporting eyeliner and chipped black nail polish have made the “love as a drug” comparison on their MySpace blogs, but now even scientists and biologists are jumping on the theory bandwagon. They’re claiming that the brain processes what we think of as love much in the same way it processes an addict’s desire for drugs. It effects the same pleasure zone of our gray matter and triggers similar types of cravings. And that’s coming from New Scientist magazine. Hey, way to go, emo kids!

If love really does affect the brain the same way as a narcotic, then shouldn’t it be handled accordingly? There are hundreds of anonymous support groups out there catering to sex addicts, alcoholics, depressed persons, and the like. The heartbroken need one, too, not just for divorcées or widows, but for any Jane or Joe Schmoe who just experienced the end of a once meaningful relationship. We need to catch them before they go into major withdrawal and make lovesick asses of themselves.

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