23/10/2010 14:23 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Falling In Love Is Like Taking Cocaine

Do you fall in love with your heart or your brain? According to Syracuse University experts studying neuroscience and mental health, the brain is key when it comes to passion.

Flickr, kjunstorm

Their study shows that when you fall in love no less than 12 areas of the brain are activated, all of which work together to release substances including dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression. The result of all that activity is an ecstatic sensation, similar to that of taking cocaine, they claim.

The scientists also discovered that there is such thing as love at first sight, since they claim falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second. And those butterflies you feel in your stomach when you first fall for someone? They're triggered by a process in your brain too.

The researchers, whose study has just been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, examined how the brain is involved in the emotion of love and found that different parts of the brain are activated when we feel different types of love.

So passionate love is triggered by the area of the brain associated with reward and body image, while unconditional love is sparked by other areas, including the middle of the brain.

"These results confirm love has a scientific basis," says Professor Stephanie Ortigue, who led the research team. Professor Ortigue hopes her study will help develop new ways of treating people suffering from emotional stress and depression as a result of a broken relationship.

As you, or do you know someone who's addicted to love?

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