Often times when thinking of love our minds usually think of the heart. In reality our brain controls all of our hormones to cause such feelings. There are so many different hormones and chemicals being released when you become physically attracted to someone. It’s really interesting to learn about the different chemicals that emerge into the body and how you react because of those chemicals. Some of the hormones released in the body cause the brain to stimulate the physiological endocrine system and become attracted to someone are: Testosterone, Estrogen, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin. Discussing hormones, how the body stimulates them, and how the body reacts to the listed few will be approached in this paper.
Knowing what a hormone is will be a great start to learning about the chemistry of love. A chemical released into the body to relay messages is a hormone. Hormones can be released from any gland in the body, but the ones that relate to the endocrine system offer great importance to this topic. The two most common hormones when talking about love are both found in the first stage, lust. Hormones important for reproduction include: Testosterone and Estrogen. Estrogen exists in both men and women, but more prevalent in women since higher doses are made in ovaries. In contrast to Estrogen, Testosterone exists in only men. The male reproductive parts, the testes, create Testosterone. These hormones bring on the sex characteristics in males and females. Testosterone and Estrogen hormones play a big role in the growing process for humans. All of our final characteristics come from these hormones when going through puberty.
As mentioned before, there are three hormones in the second phase of love. They include: Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin. In the last stage of love Oxytocin and Vasopressin appear to cause attachment. Oxytocin, also called the love hormone, and Vasopressin have a great effect in the attraction felt towards others. Oxytocin is not just a hormone found in attraction between partners, but also found in the attraction with mothers and their children. Research done on Voles describe how these two hormones affect humans. The prairies, who similarly to humans, have a rewarding system found in the brain that causes reinforcement. Meaning once the rewarding feeling from love influences the mind the reinforcement action follows. Furthermore, the research provided about Voles shows that they’re considered a part of the three percent of monogamous mammals, like humans. Monogamous mammals express the attraction phase to only one spouse at a time. This makes them stay with one partner.
In addition, the location of the Vasopressin and Oxytocin receptors has a lot to do with the bond found between people. Another experiment performed with humans helped find out where the love emotion comes from in our brains. A couple who considered themselves ‘madly in love’ experienced a test to find out what part of the brain was affected when thinking about the other mate. During the experiment the information found showed that the normal part of the brain that dealt with emotions had no effect. Instead, it affected the part that dealt with the euphoria produced by drugs. This means the oxytocin and the vasopressin regulators placement made humans become addicted to love. Oxytocin is often released after being intimate with someone, and while a mother is giving birth.
Furthermore, Vasopressin is the other chemical causing attachment. This is a hormone released after sex. Vasopressin made a great contribution to the research of Voles. A drug injected into the body to suppress Vasopressin caused the male to lose the bond he had with his partner. At this point he no longer stayed loyal to his partner and stopped protecting her. Vasopressin plays a major role with attachment, the third stage of love.
Moreover, the most interesting hormones consist of Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These three hormones are present in the second stage of love, the attraction stage. Adrenaline serves as the stress response in our bodies. The heart starts racing and the hands become clammy around the other mate because the stress response starts kicking in. Helen Fisher, the one who provided research in this article about Voles, suggested “couples often show the signs of surging Dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship”.
The second hormone released in the attraction phase is Dopamine. As talked about earlier Dopamine goes through similar receptors as Oxytocin and Vasopressin. The same effect is provided from love as an addict gets for Cocaine. The receptors are located in a spot that make humans become addicted to love. The pleasure accomplished when experiencing this chemical triggers the rewarding and desired feelings, thus causing the addiction to love.
Additionally, the two neurotransmitters described come in effect when dealing with love and attraction. Serotonin also affects how people act when falling in love. The lower level of serotonin found in the body the better off someone appears. As the body receives higher levels of serotonin the interest in your partner starts to lower. “Like drugs that blur your vision, Serotonin-enhancing medications can potentially blur a woman’s ability to evaluate mating partners, to fall in love, and to sustain an enduring partnership,” said Helen Fisher. Serotonin is not a recommended antidepressant if a person acts like they want to conduct self-harm, or suicide. Taking the antidepressants with Serotonin makes the mate lose interest possibly causing hardships on the relationship with their loved one. People should consider what Helen Fisher said because taking these can possibly worsen the depression by lack of relations with the partner. The above information was paraphrased from brainpickings.org.
Finally, critical information to know includes the way the endocrine system works. This will help to understand how hormones work throughout the body. Neurotransmitters relay messages to all body parts by sending chemicals. The two types of neurotransmitters include inhibitory and excitatory. Excitatory hormones stimulate the brain. Inhibitory hormones calm or suppress the brain. Adrenaline acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter. This hormone obtains the name Epinephrine as well. Adrenaline holds presence in the adrenal gland. Adrenaline fulfills the excitatory explanation because it causes stress. Inhibitory neurotransmitters referred to include Dopamine and Serotonin. Serotonin stabilizes the mood and balances neurotransmitters. Dopamine acts as both an excitatory and an inhibitory. It helps with depression and calms a person down. Also, Dopamine helps a person to focus and stimulates the brain. Oxytocin exists in the pituitary gland. Because of this the hormone makes people addicted to love. The above information came from neurogistics.com.
In conclusion, when falling in love there are three main stages. The stages include lust, attraction, and attachment. When going through these stages the body produces a lot of chemicals that relay messages to the other parts of the body, these are hormones. The male reproductive hormone Testosterone, and the female reproductive hormone Estrogen initiate the lust stage of falling in love. The attraction stage includes Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin. Adrenaline is a neurotransmitter that causes someone to stress when seeing their partner. When hands start to sweat, the face becomes flushed, and the heart begins to race Adrenaline gets released. The only neurotransmitter that is both inhibitory and excitatory includes Dopamine. This causes a person to calm depression, or stimulate the focus and rewarding feelings in the brain. The last part of stage two consists of Serotonin. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates the mood, and often brings someone away from the spouse if taken in larger doses than the body provides. Finally, the third stage of love incorporates attachment. Oxytocin and Vasopressin assume most important in this stage. When finding someone attractive to the eye or somebody likes than a rewarding and desirable feeling towards them becomes apparent because of Oxytocin. The receptors are located in the same place as the reaction of euphoria when taking a drug. This causes people to become addicted to love. A similar hormone that causes attachment includes Vasopressin. Vasopressin appears most often after having sex. Research showed that once Vasopressin became suppressed Vole prairies stopped acting loyal to the spouse they engaged with. The vole prairie impacted the research because they include similar aspects as humans. The prairies are included in the three percent of the monogamous mammals like humans. This trait makes someone have the attraction towards one spouse and keeps from changing partners consistently. All of this being said love really has little to nothing to do with the heart. It has a lot to do with the brain and the chemical reactions going on once hormones remain released.