Love sickness

There’s a sickness almost everyone gets, that some people on campus have at this very moment. It’s not the swine flu, the cold, or mono. For most, they recover with time. For others, it’s a spiraling nightmare of numbness. It’s called a break-up. Heard the term before?

Most people associate a break-up as a typical romantic phenomenon. However, to scientists, the break-up has serious effects upon the human body.

According to “The Female Brain” by Louann Brizendine, breaking up is similar to physical pain “because it triggers the same circuits in the brain.”

While this is supposed to help the human psyche realize our helplessness, and forewarns us not to “fall too deeply” again, the brain also has an opposite effect — it “heightens the phenomenon of passionate love in the brain circuits.”

Is there a cure to this psychological madness? Unfortunately, as everyone knows, there is no step-by-step process in healing after a break up (although many people numb themselves on a date with two favorite men, Ben and Jerry).

To replace the loss of dopamine and oxytocin to the brain, some people turn to make-up sex — which also satisfies the increased passion circuits of the brain. Others (the motivated few) work their frustrations out on the treadmill (oh hey, Rec Center).

Curbing borderline insanity for some people may be as simple as eating chocolate or drinking, which are not very sound choices. So what foods or activities replace the missing love drug?

Serotonin-inducing foods that contain tryptophan, like cottage cheese, chickpeas, chicken, eggs, turkey, walnuts, mangos, oats, bananas, sesame and sunflower seeds. Also foods high in folic acid, like lentils, leafy vegetables, melons and spinach, increase brain serotonin levels.

Yes, chocolate helps too, but won’t give you a daily long-lasting faux love drug fix. The best non-nutritional way to quickly heal is through distraction. A guy’s or girl’s night out; a movie with friends; even baking or taking a boxing class will help, because stress hormones surface during the post-break up period.

Whatever way people decide to heal, there is always an old standby to feel better about yourself: read the posts on FML and be thankful you weren’t dumped for a fictional character.


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