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Part of a series on Love
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Love sickness
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Unrequited love
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Sexual intercourse
Interpersonal relationship

Love sickness is a non-medical term used to describe mental and physical symptoms associated with falling in love.

Historically, love sickness has been viewed as a short-lived mental illness brought on by the intense changes associated with love. Universally acknowledged polymath Avicenna, a Persian, viewed obsession as the principal symptom and cause of love sickness. This diagnosis has been out of favor since the humoral model was abandoned, and since the advent of modern scientific psychiatry.


A 2005 article by Frank Tallis suggested love sickness be taken more seriously by professionals.[1]

Some of the symptom clusters shared with love sickness include:

  • mania or hypomania – abnormally elevated mood, inflated self esteem, extravagant gift giving
  • depression – tearfulness, insomnia, loss of concentration
  • stress - high blood pressure, pain in chest and heart, acute insomnia; sometimes brought on by a "Crush"
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder – preoccupation and hoarding valueless but superstitiously resonant items
  • psychologically created physical symptoms, such as upset stomach, change in appetite, insomnia, dizziness, and confusion.

More substantively, the estimated serotonin levels of people falling in love were observed to drop to levels found in patients with OCD.[2] Brain scan investigations of individuals who professed to be "truly, madly, deeply" in love showed activity in several structures in common with in the neuroanatomy of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example the anterior cingulate cortex and caudate nucleus.[3]

Love sickness can cause suicidal thoughts if it is too extreme. Evident in two young teenagers from Nottingham, Samuel Ward and Ellen Bannerman, who decided upon a mutual suicide pact because of their new found emotions with love.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Tallis, F (2005). "Truly, madly deeply in love" (pdf). The Psychologist 18 (2): 72–4. 
  2. ^ Marazziti D, Akiskal HS, Rossi A, Cassano GB (May 1999). "Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love". Psychol Med 29 (3): 741–5. PMID 10405096. 
  3. ^ Bartels A, Zeki S (November 2000). "The neural basis of romantic love". Neuroreport 11 (17): 3829–34. PMID 11117499. 

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