6 Reasons why we fall in Love

Many times we forget to study what processes make us fall in love. We usually assume that falling in love is caused by a matter of physical attraction or common ground between two people. However, there are many other factors that make us feel that we have found our better half.

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The attributes of passion, according to Aron (expert psychologist in the study of relationships), are the following:

  1. Similarity. If we think similarly to the other person, we have similar personality traits and we share a similar value system we will feel more attracted to them. A study carried out by Zeki in his article “The Neurobiology of Love” shows that low levels of serotonin (the neurotransmitter of happiness) in our brain, are counteracted by the similarity and familiarity we feel towards a person. In addition, it has been shown that if these levels of serotonin increase during the beginning of a romantic relationship,which encourages romantic attachment and bonding in the couple.
  2. Closeness or affinity. There is an effect called “mere exposure” that shows that we feel more closeness and positive affect towards a person or object as we spend time with them. This happens for example with the songs on the radio. Maybe at first you do not like a song, but after listening to it twenty times on the radio, you want to sing it along and you even know the lyrics. With people the effect of “mere exposure” occurs when we spend time together, live close, work together and cross each other frequently, so that the presence of the other becomes pleasant and familiar. In addition, another interesting feature of love is that a felt closeness to a new lover creates higher levels of the reward and chemical motivation of dopamine, while the distance can lead to them being reduced.
  3. Appearance and qualities that are desirable. The physical attraction is very important, especially if the person has qualities that we find especially attractive. This point is the most influential when it comes to feel physical attraction to someone, but we must not forget that it is not the only responsible for us to feel passion towards that person.
  4. Mutual attraction. Feeling that the other person is attracted to you makes you unconsciously like them more. That is to say, the reciprocity of the experienced emotions makes us feel more intensely our attraction towards the other person. Do not forget that sometimes we confuse passion with other strong emotions that have an activating effect on our brain such as anxiety or fear. For example, the feeling of increased levels of adrenaline is sometimes confused with a feeling of being in love with a person. In his famous experiment Dutton and Aron (1974) discovered that more men fell in love with an attractive interviewer when asked questions in situations of anxiety (a suspension bridge that aroused fear) compared to quiet situations. Therefore, even in the absence of most other factors of the appearance of passion, finding someone in a situation of anxiety can cause us to fall in love with that person.                                                                                           brigitte-tohm-210081In addition to feeling passion, in the long term there are other factors that influence that the attraction to go further, making us fall in love with that person. These factors are the following:
  5. Social influence. A potential union that satisfies the general social norms, as well as the acceptance of the possible union within the social network, can contribute to people falling in love. On the contrary, a union that does not meet general social norms or that is not accepted by the social network, can result in people falling for love.
  6. Satisfaction of needs. If a person can meet the needs of companionship, love, or sex there is a greater chance that the other person will fall in love with him or her.

These factors influence the strength of our relationship. Entering into a committed relationship requires giving up part of our personal autonomy including the other person in our life. If the other person has desirable characteristics, their presence in our life can be perceived as a part that makes us feel more complete, instead of feeling it as a loss of freedom (Aron & Aron, 1996).

References:

Acevedo, B P.; Aron, A. (2009). Does a long-term relationship kill romantic love? Review of General Psychology, Vol 13(1), 59-65.

Aron, A & Aron, EN. (1986). Love and the Expansion of Self: Understanding Attraction and Satisfaction, New York, NY, US: Hemisphere Publishing Corp/Harper & Row.

Aron, EN & Aron, A. (1996) “Love and Expansion of the Self: The State of the Model”, Personal Relationships 3, 1: 45–58

Dutton, D. G., Aron, A. P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 4, 510-517. doi : 10.1037/h0037031

Zeki S. “The Neurobilogy of Love” (2007) Jun 12;581(14):2575-9. Epub 2007 May 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/175319

5 Useful Tips to Quit Smoking

Tobacco addiction is one of the most extensive in our society. Nicotine generates a feeling of well-being in us that hooks us up from the first cigarette. In addition, social reinforcement and group pressure are the main causes of which we start smoking.

Quitting smoking is difficult not only because of the euphoric effects of tobacco, but also because of the unpleasant effects you feel when you try to quit. That’s why it is easy to have a relapse after have gone a few days without smoking.

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To overcome the habit of smoking there are many techniques that make it effective. We offer you 5 useful tips to quit tobacco:

  1. Set a deadline to quit smoking. Choosing a definite date will help you to feel happy, since you will have a concrete limit. To make it easier to meet your goal on that deadline go to leaving progressively a few days before. Also, comment your goal with your family and friends that you feel more supported and committed to your decision. In addition,  you can register the cigarettes you smoked before that deadline, and see how much money you spent on smoking. Quitting smoking helps you to feel better, to have good health and not feel dependence, and at the same time, you can save some money.
  2. Observe your behavior. At what times of the day do you smoke? In what places? Understanding what situations and moments we associate with tobacco helps us to know what prompts us to smoke. For example, sometimes we can associate smoking with having a coffee in the morning, staying with a friend who also smokes it or waiting for the bus. Identifying what prompts you to smoke helps you recognize the sensations you associate with nicotine and, therefore, learn to handle them in an alternative way. For example, you can have tea for breakfast instead of coffee, take a walk instead of staying at home, or even eat at a different time or in a different place. Changing your routines helps your mind get rid of its association with the time of day with tobacco.
  3. Practice self-control. Self-control is about finding strategies that change your environment so that it is easier to quit smoking. For example, you can leave the packs in a visible place, or you can sit inside the bars in the place of the terraces.
  4. Believe in yourself. It is important to be confident in your ability to overcome addiction. Self-efficacy is the confidence you have in your abilities to deal with the different situations that arise. It affects the way to send a goal of achievement and achieve an objective or task, and is decisive to achieve or not the goals in your life. For example, I’m more likely to study that math test if I think I can pass it. In this way, the most motivated people are the ones who perceive that their actions can be effective, that is, they have the conviction that they have the personal skills that allows them to regulate their actions. Research has shown that the self-efficacy of each individual plays an important role when facing a goal, task or challenge.
  5. Finally, you have the support of your psychologist. To stop smoking requires time, patience and therapeutic assistance. In addition, group work with other people who are quitting tobacco at the same time as us helps us to feel accompanied and motivated in the process, so it has a very positive effect. Quitting smoking can change to a habit that is very installed in us, and for that many times we need help from a professional.

    In short, quitting smoking is possible with the right motivation and help. It is essential that you have the support of your family and friends, as well as a therapist to help you in this process. Self-control, coping skills and social skills are very helpful techniques to overcome addiction and start a new life. But remember, the most important thing is that you tell yourself “I want to quit smoking” and that you commit to it. You know you can get it

Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults

   Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychological disorders in childhood. It is characterised by inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Until recently, the disorder was considered by many to resolve during adolescence and young adulthood with little or no continued impact in adult life. However, the majority of cases of ADHD may persist into adult life where it is associated with a range of clinical and psychosocial impairments.

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       In a study from the World Health Organisation Mental Health Survey (Lara, 2009) identified symptom severity, the presence of comorbid depression, social adversity and parental psychopathology as childhood predictors of adult ADHD. Nevertheless, all forms of ADHD are known to persist into adulthood including ADHD with predominantly inattentive symptoms and ADHD associated with milder levels of impairment and comorbidity.

What are ADHD Symptoms in adults?

         The expression of ADHD in adults is to some extent different from that in children and the diagnostic descriptions of some of the features need to be adapted to adult expressions of the disorder. Whereas the core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, are well characterised in children, these symptoms may have different and more subtle expressions in adult life. For instance, where children with ADHD may run and climb excessively, or have difficulty in playing or engaging quietly in leisure activities, adults with ADHD are more likely to experience inner restlessness, inability to relax, or over talkativeness. Hyperactivity may also be expressed as excessive fidgeting, the inability to sit still for long in situations when sitting is expected (at the table, in the movie, in church or at symposia), or being on the go all the time. Impulsivity may be expressed as impatience, acting without thinking, spending impulsively, starting new jobs and relationships on impulse, and sensation seeking behaviours. Inattention often presents as distractibility, disorganization, being late, being bored, need for variation, difficulty making decisions, lack of overview, and sensitivity to stress.

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        Typically, adults with ADHD will not settle after the age of 30 but continue to change and/or lose jobs and relationships, either through boredom or being fired. As a consequence relationships and jobs are often short lived. Relationships that last are often impaired due to the inability to listen with concentration to the spouse, not finishing or procrastinating tasks, often being on a ‘short fuse’ and interrupting conversations.

        ADHD patients are also more likely to be subjected to other accidents like dog-bites and burns, and display an unhealthy lifestyle: smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, riskier sexual lifestyle, a delayed rhythm due to chronic sleep problems, lack of structure and inappropriate healthcare.

      Many feel isolated and lonely due to social handicaps and shame about failures. They may have less success with personal growth, lower ability to present themselves in a socially appropriate fashion and lower mental and physical well-being, even in the presence of a high IQ.

What is the prevalence of the disorder?

    Despite growing interest in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, little is known about its prevalence or correlates. According to a study carried out by Kessler et al. in 2006 the estimated prevalence of adult ADHD in the United States was 4.4%. More recent studies show that the prevalence of ADHD in adults is in the range of 2-5% (Lara, 2009).

How can we treat ADHD in adults?

       Due to the demands and responsibilities of adult life, adults face many problems that are different from those faced by children and they therefore need a different range of psychosocial and psychological treatments tailored to both their developmental level and ADHD. Psychological treatments in the form of psychoeducation, cognitive behaviour therapy, supportive coaching or assistance with organising daily activities are all thought to be effective. Further research is however needed as there is an insufficient evidence base to recommend their routine use in clinical practice.

      In order to understand better adult ADHD The European Network Adult ADHD was founded in 2003. This independent expert panel was set up to help improve the diagnosis and management of ADHD in adults throughout Europe. The key to ADHD treatment is a correct evaluation and diagnosis, as well as an individualized psychological intervention.

       In conclusion, efforts are needed in order to increase the detection and treatment of adult ADHD. It is important to determine whether effective treatment would reduce the onset, persistence, and severity of disorders that co-occur with adult ADHD.

 

References:

Kessler R.C. et al. (2006) The Prevalence and Correlates of Adult ADHD in the United States: Results From the National Comorbidity Survey replication.  The American journal of psychiatry April 2006 Vol 163 Number 4

The European Network Adult ADHD  http://www.adult-adhd.net.

https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-10-67

Lara C, et al: Childhood predictors of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: results from the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Biol Psychiatry. 2009, 65 (1): 46-54. 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.10.005.

 

Resilience and Divorce

¿Does divorce of the parents promote resilience in their children?

 Resilience is a trait related to everybody. It is usually developed after a traumatic experience, but there are also people who develop a higher sense of resilience without having had any trauma in the past. This difference when developing resilience could be due to inherited personality characteristics, or it could be learned in childhood and adolescence.

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    Divorce has been studied exhaustively in order to measure its consequences for both parents and children. Because the establishment of the new situation is not in the child’s control, they undergo a great amount of stress and they even feel shocked by the new circumstances. Divorce is not a single event, but a series of changes in the child’s lives which need to be adjusted to. Parents play a crucial role in promoting child adjustment. They influence the child’s emotional development and adjustment, and they are responsible for most of the risk factor involved in divorce. Although they are influential in the child’s recovery, most of the factors are not in their control. The children’s adjustment is crucial in order to develop resilience, since the children need to have a stable emotional condition. Resilience definition process, which entails experiencing a stressful event and being able to overcome it, fits in divorce development. Children become, not only more experienced in life situations, but also more knowledgeable and mature.

    Although there is not enough clear evidence that divorce promotes resilience, it is clear that resilience is present in divorce. Divorce is a stressful event that is overcome by most of the children that have to endure it. In order to overcome a stressful event, resilience must be developed, and once resilience is experienced, it is present throughout one’s lifetime.  Divorce fits in the resilience parameters: stressor and the ability to overcome it. Even though theoretical studies support the hypothesis that children become more resilient after undergoing divorce, there is no study that addresses this issue specifically. Further investigation must be carried out in order to see the resilience outcome from divorce.