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Crazy little thing called love?

Love and obsession are two entirely different things. Love is that enviable state, that knows no envy or vanity. Love is more than an emotion, it is the substance of our being!
Deepa Pant, Kuwait

Can not falling in love drive you just as mad?
Laura Willoughby, UK

Background ¦ Your reaction

The Background:

Can't eat, can't sleep, can't stop grinning like a Cheshire cat, can't stop thinking about that certain someone - classic symptoms of love? Well actually, you could be going mad.

An Italian researcher has found that people in the first flush of love have a lot in common with sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

People with OCD and people in love both get fixated with things, and both have very low levels of the feel-good chemical Serotonin - which has a soothing effect on the brain.

The research published in the New Scientist has received mixed reactions in the science community, but Thomas Insel of Emory University, thinks it's about time falling in love was studied as a relevant human emotion.

"Any of us who have fallen in love know that this is a profoundly biological process. Now somebody's actually trying to understand how," he said.

Do you think falling head over heels for someone sends you a bit crazy? Have you spent hours on end fantasising about your latest hot romance, when you should be getting on with something else? Do you think love and obsession are the same thing?

Background ¦ Your reaction

Your Reaction:

H Stack's definition of love: When the satisfaction or the security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one's own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists." - this is my definition of love. Passionate love is not so great - ecstasy derives from the Greek word ekstasis which means "derangement"!
Sarah Kirley, U.S.A.

I look at my husband and think - yes, I must have been mad...
CF, Canada

Bit like smoking cannabis really - an enviable state of mind where you smile at old ladies who push their shopping trolleys into your legs, grin inanely at everyone you pass on the street, and generally 'love' the whole of mankind. Trouble is, when it wears off it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.... duped again!!
Trish, England

....grinning from ear to ear on a packed commuter train, laughing out loud in the supermarket whilst remembering a 'stupid' comment made, listening to, but not taking on board any comments made at a work meeting, not needing to eat, sleep, breath as long as you have him..........that's not madness, that is love. You can take on the world and win. Madness got it right - "As soon as I wake up, every night, every day, I know that it's you I need to take the blues away....Love is the best!!"
Elise, UK

Love is a great excitement and spectacular rush you feel when you realise you might have found somebody you think it's ideal to breed with. Therefore it has nothing to do with madness!
Jelena, South Africa

Yes, love drives you mad. It makes a fool of you and you make decisions which sane people would not believe!
Sharon B, USA

Yes, I have been going mad recently thinking about somebody from 10 years ago, never got over him, never will. Am I just sad or mad??
Anne, England

Love, hatred, the will to win, the need to acquire, all of these emotions are an active response to situations towards which we would "normally" (whatever that is!) have a passive reaction.
The next millennium may see a move away from drugs of all kinds being administered physically. Rather, humans will be trained to manufacture the same chemicals using emotion alone. This is the true purpose of art, at least from the renaissance to the present. Long live science, long live art.
Ray, UK

Love makes you irrational. It's highs and lows are like a drug addiction. Once you are unplugged from love you don't know what to do with yourself.
Tara Guilday, USA

Interesting question! Many anti-depressant medication work by raising seratonin levels. Does that make them an antidote to love? Could it help explain the many marriages that break up (sometimes with violence involved) when one of the spouses takes them?
Michael Daley, USA

When you're in love you use your heart, not your mind. If you use your mind I don't think you are in love.
Khalid, Canada

I think this just adds more fuel to the fire regarding scientists making things up to get their names known!
Ian, UK

For most of us growing up in the sixties in India; and not so liberated teens, love for us was multidimensional, but a very confusing emotion! We were allowed to profess our love towards our teachers, parents, siblings, Tagore, The Beatles, ice creams, but certainly as far as love towards the "man kind" was concerned, er, love towards the opposite sex was a total taboo!
Love in all its splendour belonged to the big screen, it was acting coy and dancing round the trees in a well-manicured park, something only the tinsel actors and actresses were capable of! I only fell in love after I got officially engaged! So, in a way, the Indian parents were wiser, who spared us the agony of "mid summer madness"!
Deepa Pant, Kuwait

I think this is a worthwhile study. More people should realise (especially those first entering into a relationship with marriage in mind), that those initial emotions are not going to last. A deeper love has to evolve for marriage to work. Hopefully in turn the current divorce rate will decline and fewer doomed marriages will take place.
Rosalind, Malaysia

The only thing that drives you mad is when your partner doesn't turn up on time for a meeting. That's when love drives you mad.
Kate, The Netherlands

No, I don't believe that true love can drive anybody mad. I gather what does make some people behave rather crazy is that sometimes we have a tendency to become too possessive. If what we mainly care about is how someone makes us feel and not how we make that someone feel then obviously we are catapulted into a constant state of expectance and therefore get tense...
Vivien Cooksley, Austria

Love drives you mad it must do, what male in his right mind would commit him self to...
30 years plus of nagging (if you're unlucky)
25 years mortgage
Endless sleepless nights with bawling children
Night out with the lads banned
Work 37 plus hours for a few pounds in pocket money
High electricity bills, as every one in the house knows how to switch things on but not off
High gas bills must have fresh air during the winter with the gas fire on full blast
Telephone bills as long as your arm
Record players on full blast in bedrooms whilst you try and watch some sport
You think mad, I think totally insane. You call it love! You must be mad
John Foster, England

"To be wise and to be in love is scarce granted even to a god." Latin proverb
Kirk O'Connor, UK

YES!!! Falling in love drives you totally crazy....I've fallen in love with a beautiful creature...and I don't where he came from...the only way I can describe him is as a bronzed Adonis....whenever I look into his eyes...I just melt...

It's interesting that most of the comments are from men; they're the ones who seem to go "mad" when in love. Women somehow seem to have more control over their emotions. Men certainly do more crazy things than women when in love - see the guy in the 'Milk Tray' ad - he'd do anything for his woman!
Ada, UK

So many people saying they are normal. Where in fact, we all have a crazy side sometime. Yahooy!!
Kit, New Zealand

I can not believe that someone actually funded this project. There are so many worthwhile causes that go unnoticed, so we can examine another superficial aspect of our lives. Love is not a disease that needs to be cured or avoided. If they have all this money to throw away maybe they should look at it from another angle....Why do people allow themselves to fall out of love? Are they mad? If you ask me, those are the ones that need help!
Bonnie, USA

One can't be sane and in love at the same time, if one could there would be no logical reason for the existence of chocolate.
Rhyanna, US

I agree that love can drive people mad, especially when the couple are deeply in love and support each other.
Ann, Hong Kong

Yes I believe love drives us mad. Especially if you lost someone you loved so much and want them back so much. In my case, I would probably do anything to get her back and people probably think I'm crazy because she doesn't love me anymore and I'll still do anything for her.
Alan Woo, Australia

Love is the surrendering of objectivity and rationalisation to emotions.
Bassey Asuquo, USA

Love is indeed a funny state of mind. The fact Tony Blair apparently loves his country is kind of worrying.
Bill Bell, UK

I have to agree with Steve UK. Love doesn't make you makes you realise how mad you were without it!
Janet S, Zambia

Love keeps one sane and is the only cure for madness. I am only happy when in love and hope to remain so forever. Consider why the Dutch are the happiest people on this earth?
Jas Grewal, The Netherlands

It's not really going "mad", just becoming rather obsessed with that certain someone I think. In fact, doesn't loving anything at all make one slightly mad? Including being devoted to or very involved in say, a choir or a band for instance.
Davina, Singapore

I am so gob-smacked by the BBC putting something up that equates having obsessive compulsive disorder with 'being mad'. That is certainly discrimination! There are a whole lot of us out here with OCD and I can assure you we ain't mad. Having OCD is not the same as 'being obsessed' about a person - and we certainly aren't like stalkers. Like being in love? This scientist needs HIS head examined I am afraid.
People who are depressed (is this like love?) also have problems with serotonin levels - serotonin is associated with many problems with emotions. This theory is equivalent to saying being in love must be the same as heart disease because it affects your heart beat! Leaving OCD out of this, yes there are aspects of falling in love, sometimes, that are similar to temporary insanity.
It depends how it takes you - falling in love is different for different people and their behaviour varies greatly. Some ways of falling in love seem like insanity and that I believe is why the ancient Greeks regarded the experience as being 'possessed' by Aphrodite. It can be a divine experience of possession, of course. Or it can make you mad.
Imogen Woolf, UK

I can't call it madness but dominating body by soul. Higher activity and less need. Concentrating and looking every where to find your love and finding her/his sign in any thing.
Hamid Moghimi, Iran

What do the scientists hope to gain from the research? Is love some kind of a disease that needs a cure? Why would they be interested in the substance that triggers love? The scientist and the ones funding the project should go to any third world country and live with people less fortunate than they are if they have not understood love yet. The real one. Not the romantic kind.
Maricar, Philippines

Falling into real love happens slowly. Trust and companionship have to be there. One is only driven totally nuts when obsession takes over. Both emotions feel pretty good - just that one is manageable
Pam, Canada

When you love someone, especially at the start of a relationship, you do act differently. You devote all your time to one person either being with them of thinking about them. That's what love is though. I think the researchers are mistaking the symptoms of love with those of madness and getting paid for it!
David, UK

Love drowns out the sorrows of the world.
Zara Shah, UK

I can't believe that this research is being funded. What's the point? Love is a wonderful emotion and to study it takes its fun away. Feelings are feelings, not research subjects!
Gareth Hagger-Johnson, UK

I think that madness seems to suggest a retreat into the mind Love suggests, to me, an opening of the mind. A person may lose some reason and judgement when in love but I would say this was more through a state of euphoria than madness.
Love is an extreme emotion that can show similar symptoms to madness. Then again, this of course is the view of a man who is indeed deeply in love. And why trust a madman?
David Smith, UK

When you fell in love it's sure that you feel mad but the interesting point is as time goes on you get used to surviviong with that madness.
Serli Kazarian, Turkey

We Frenchmen know all about love. We allow the ladies to fall in love with us and we act the romantic hero for them. No Frenchman would ever truly be mad with love.
Pierre Lonquere, France

I have got to say it does. When you are single and observe when a close friend or member of the family is making a mistake or acting irrationally because they are 'in love', you think to yourself, "I'll never do that". But then when it is you in that situation you too act irrationally, make irrational decisions just because, you are 'in love'. The one thing I have learnt is never to interfere in a warring couple's problems because generally they are madly in 'love' and hence behaving madly and therefore do not see things in the clear light of day. I suppose it's the same with your football team too!
Jonathan, Belgium

What a great idea, let's spend money researching something most of us do naturally and don't want a cure for. Isn't it about time that research was directed at something useful and not just used to fund a bit more time wasting by an over educated team of time wasters
Kevin Brown, UK

Mad? When my girlfriend left me I was furious...
Andrew Ness, UK

No wonder I find it hard to fall in love, I'm trying to prevent my OCD behaviour!!!

Can this be the explanation as to why I've lost my appetite?
Jason, UK

Mark Twain said it best: "Not be in love? You might as well be a slug under the earth."
Robert Crayhon, US

It's driving me mad at the moment. You're at work and you can't concentrate on your job because you can't stop thinking about her and you're constantly thinking about what you may or may not do on your next encounter has left me a little drained of 'feel good' energy, not that I don't feel good (if you know what I mean). It's a very good feeling, but if you have a job to do, it is very distracting and your colleagues do catch on very quickly identifying what the problem is!
Jason, UK

I love love. It is a natural, spiritual experience for the human being. It is not mad. It is sacred.
Wendy, USA

The passionate madness of love is nature's way of ensuring we form stable couples and continue the species. Sledgehammer engineering.
Chris Cormie, Australia

Love is of course the most powerful emotion, next to fear. The question is why on Earth was the marriage certificate introduced to screw it all up?
Michael Staley, Hong Hong

From someone who is a little older (44) I would say that love does not drive you mad. It makes you sane.
Steve Nicholls, UK

Yeah, I can relate to this. Everything else - apart from that 'certain somebody' - takes on a surreal and almost dreamlike quality. Alternatively, you can floor the research by saying 'Maybe the OCD people were in love'. Simple :)
Dave, England

Everyone knows love is multi-madness. Obsession, depression and confession are symptoms of this glorious human condition. what would life be worth without it? Where would William Shakespeare and countless song writers and mooning crooners be without love. Without it they can't get no satisfaction!
J.R. Mackie, U.S.A.

In my experience, one is first prone to becoming infatuated and then may, what is perhaps incorrectly referred to as, fall in love. One must be first, at least, slightly mad to fall in love. Infatuation is more a trigger for acting out ones dormant irregularities than the cause. However, the state of love, grace and self realization referred to in some literary works and holy books is not to be mistaken with infatuation. I can imagine, once in love one becomes conscious of a deep understanding of cause and effect. Issac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein, not to mention the religious luminaries, could have been in love during some periods in their lives.
Said Marandi, Canada

Falling in love drives me mad. I can't think straight or function normally. After the initial confusion then I like the feeling of being in love. It's a feeling of warmth and caring deeply for someone. One sided love can be very frustrating. I don't recommend it.
Robert Morrison, UK

Anything short of Madness, strong passion or obsession in LOVE is a mere waste of time.
Srikiran Dravida, USA

I loved a girl once and yes I think that it made me a little mad in the sense that nothing else was as important as her, but in the end I realised that being in love isn't that good because you stop looking after yourself.
Nadim, Canada

Falling in love...for me it has happened but once. It is the end of love that can drive one mad!
Keleigh A. Burgie, USA

This brings a new meaning to 'truly, madly, deeply!'
James Macey, UK in USA

The only time I ever fell in love or got emotionally attached to a girl was when I was doing my M.Sc. Since it was only one-sided I won't call it an affair. Nevertheless it was a painstaking experience for me. It just drove me mad. I used to get pestered by trivial matters. Otherwise a cheerful person, I started losing my temper on small things. But luckily, I was strong enough to get back to my senses. It was not long before I became normal. But it explains how even strong minded people like me who has never believed in love can be defeated by this emotion. An experience that lasts forever.
Raju Venugopal, India

I wouldn't say that it drives you mad, but falling in love makes you do things that you definitely wouldn't do in a normal state of mind. True love I think takes away the ability to think clearly - you are so focussed on that person who means the world to you, that mostly everything else has little significance. As a result you find yourself doing things that you normally wouldn't do. Some may say its madness but I say its "love intoxication." Concerning love and obsession - love lasts forever while obsession doesn't stand the test of time - it usually feathers away.
H.A. Telesford, USA

Who cares what makes people think they can understand love when countless poets, artists, singers have a hard time explaining it all. Let love be !
Helen, USA

Does this mean that I should now agree with my wife when she calls me mad?
Geoff Chippington, United Kingdom

Does falling in love drive you mad?

Final Vote:


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