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The crazy things a crush can do to your body

The Science of Having a Crush

Is there anything more intense than the beginning of a crush? You might feel like you're actually going crazy ... and that's because many symptoms of infatuation fit the profile of a (temporary) mental illness.

The brain chemistry of a crush is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Having a crush can trigger physical symptoms like faster heart rate, flushed cheeks and trembling.

Psychologically we classify that sort of response with the basic emotion of love. When a crush really kicks in, it feels like you're powerless to stop it. That's because actual chemicals are being released in your brain, including dopamine, oxytocin and cortisol.

The Dopamine rush is a chemical signal sending info in between neurons. Dopamine is the chemical that's released when someone does drugs or feels a jolt of happiness.

Dopamine can also heighten your connection to the world around you. A crush can alter your brain chemistry for up to two years.

When it doesn't go away, it's called limerence. Limerence sounds like a horror movie and it kind of is
Limerence includes: uncontrollable thoughts, extreme nervousness and shortness of breath.

All the scary stuff aside, crushes can be great ... especially when they're reciprocated.

Join the discussion

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dfowler955 February 16 2014 at 2:33 PM

I always tell young people, "Picture your crush when they're old, wrinkled, walking witha cane, hair falling out (it thins for women, too, they just don't usually go bald), you're visiting them in the hospital, etc.. My grandparents, parents, etc. all loved their friendships with that crush and have had such fun, since they can laugh at themselves. They see joy in the little things, so when that fire becomes a little less at times they can/could still love each other. Crushes are nice, but advice like that helps you to remember it's not just physical you're after.

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dstauff1093 February 16 2014 at 5:44 PM

If it flies, floats or f***s ------ RENT IT!!!!!!!!

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1972RB February 16 2014 at 2:24 PM

I had a crush when I was 12 years old, we married when we were 18 and had a son, divorced, got back together 26 years later. Our son and grandson went to our 2nd wedding. Our crush never went away. I still feel the excitement driving home, can't wait to be with him every night after work.

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kmitnck0405 1972RB February 16 2014 at 2:59 PM

WOW I wish all women could have the admiration you do for your spouse. Good for you!!!

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Vinay Kothari February 16 2014 at 2:26 PM

Why on most cases crush is only one sided? A person going through a crush sends a chemistry signal to the other partner. Why he or she ignores that wave?

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natalie February 16 2014 at 5:28 PM


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cantermerri February 16 2014 at 2:33 PM

Unreciprocated, it can have the opposite effect, known as depression. It's no wonder that we all crave that special connection of reciprocated love -the best "drug" in the world!

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LewTag February 16 2014 at 2:55 PM

Also called cathexis, the chemical rush in some cases is like a drug hit....it is the same in a way only the drug is made inside your own brain....that is why they say that love is blind...it destroys normal reason....also helps to explain all those single mothers out there...next to food and shelter humans are made to crave reproduction and when in cathexis almost any sperm donor will do....it must all be god's will or it would be different...not the manmade god of holy books but the prime mover in the universe...generator, operator, destroyer...GOD...it does whatever it wants with whomever it wants...ergo Theofatalism...google for details...www.theofatalism.org for moderators too...

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pmbalele February 16 2014 at 3:04 PM

Don't have a crush while in college. It can ruin your grades.

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ohmarshaoh78 pmbalele February 16 2014 at 3:14 PM

just love em and forget em

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thelightdragonstephen ohmarshaoh78 February 16 2014 at 3:52 PM

that's what i do man

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jthomason1952james February 16 2014 at 3:22 PM

So that was my problem..looking back I loved the high, very intense. Now I'm in my 60's and that "high" has not escaped me.

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tamsen86 February 16 2014 at 5:11 PM

I say give it all ya got with a crush. Bear up under it like a sickness because it really is one. And eventually when you're well again, if you have a brain in your head, you'll be spent and never go there again.

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