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THIS is the reason why you dated a jerk.

Image: Hannah from Girls (HBO).

You don’t need to have taken cocaine to know it can impact your mind and mood in significant ways.

Pop culture makes no secret of this. Remember that scene in season 3 of Girls where Hannah uses cocaine for the first time and goes a little bit… wild?

Exactly.

Well, here’s some interesting information for you: it turns out drug use isn’t the only thing that can affect your brain in this way. In fact, even if you’ve never touched an illicit substance in your life, you’ve probably experienced that same ‘high’… because it can also be caused by love.

Yes. It seems sweet, innocent love can really mess with your brain.

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According to psychologist and relationship researcher Shauna Springer, the brain state of someone falling in love is comparable to that of someone smoking crack cocaine, due to the "high-octane euphoria" and high levels of stimulation provoked in both instances.

"In the short run, according to the website cocaine.org, smoking crack cocaine leads to enhanced mood, heightened sexual interest, a feeling of increased self-confidence, greater conversational prowess and intensified consciousness," Springer writes on Psychology Today, pointing out that these also happen to be common side-effects of being smitten with someone.

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"The similarity between the two states may explain why new love prompts us to float and flit between our daily activities with a certain glow, bursting with vitality and charged with energy, all while whistling a cheerful tune," she continues.

The difference is, the rush you get from being in love lasts a lot longer than the effects of cocaine (and, obviously, costs a lot less). It can stick around for days, if not weeks, months or years.

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Now, this certainly all sounds very lovely and rose-tinted, but this high does have some downsides. The increase of chemicals that love (and other drugs) provokes in your brain, including dopamine, can cloud your decision-making skills and hamper your ability to be discreet.

Then there's the whole 'addiction' thing - Robert Palmer knows what's up - and the subsequent comedown when the rush of those first blissful months wears off.

Yep, looks like Eskimo Joe was right - love is a drug, after all.

Have you ever experienced the 'rush' of falling in love?

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