Is there a link between heartbreak and addiction? A recent study shows that there may be. Helen E. Fisher, PhD, of Rutgers University and her team looked at functional MRI (fMRI) images of men and women who had recently broken up with a long-term partner. The images showed that the same areas of the brain were affected as those associated with addiction, reward, craving, and depression. According to Fisher, a neural pathway associated with physical pain and decision making is activated when someone is rejected, which is similar to nicotine or alcohol cravings.
The good news is that time does heal. The researchers found that the more time since rejection the less activity seen on the fMRI.