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How Your Brain Handles Heartbreak

We might as well face it, we’re addicted to love.

Ke$ha’s first hit, “Your Love is My Drug,” is more than just a catchy, guilty pleasure song; there’s truth behind lines like “my sleep is gonna be affected, if I keep it up like a lovesick crackhead.”


In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Brit Lab, a YouTube video channel sponsored by the BBC, took a look at how heartbreak affects people and whether or not you can die from a broken heart.

They found that falling in love stimulates the same parts of the brain that light up when your brain is affected by alcohol or drugs. These regions of the brain regulate motivation and reward, so when we fall in love, we become addicted to the feelings it produces.

As a result, when we fall out of love, or experience a break up with someone we still love, the heartache and pain also physically affects our brain, acting in a similar way when we cannot have a substance we’re addicted to.

The video also explores the increased physical risks people are susceptible to in the years after losing a loved one.

Overall, the results of the video seem to confirm the sentiments in Spike Jonze’s film Her. Amy Adam’s character, Amy, tells Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix: “Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s a form of socially acceptable insanity.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you crazy kids.

Articles
via Library of Congress

In the months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the military to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps to defend the West Coats from spies.

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After the war, the decision was seen as a cruel act of racist paranoia by the American government against its own citizens.

The interment caused most of the Japanese-Americans to lose their money and homes.

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via Michael Belanger / Flickr

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