Scientist foresees the use of a “love pill” that could help save failed marriages

Dentro de tres o cinco años puede que las píldoras del amor ayuden a salvar matrimonios.


In three or five years, love pills may help save marriages.

Photo: WESTEND61/IMAGO / copyright

A love pill that replicates the feeling of being in love and that could be prescribed to try to save marriages in complex situations could exist “within three to five years”, according to an academic from the University of Oxford.

During the Cheltenham Science Festival -England-, Dr. Anna Machin, evolutionary anthropologist and author of “Why We Love: The New Science Behind Our Closest Relationships” , exposed that there are four chemicals in the brain that explain love: oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and beta endorphin.

According to the expert, a pill that accumulates these four hormonal substances could “improve your abilities to find love or increase the possibility that you fall in love when the situation is complicated.”

The effects of substances

Dopamine, also called the pleasure hormone, is a neurotransmitter that provides a feeling of well-being. Oxytocin, for its part, is a hormone that is related to sexual patterns, self-confidence and disinhibition.

Meanwhile, serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood and emotions. Finally, beta endorphin is a hormone that blocks the sensation of pain and works like an opiate, that is, it has addictive effects.

The ethical dilemmas of the “love pill”

The scientist considers that there is currently sufficient knowledge about neurochemistry and the brain to be able to prescribe this type of pill during treatment. However, Machin is aware that behind this idea there is an ethical dilemma: “One of the frontiers of commercial love research is the exploration of possible love drugs: can you imagine how much money it would make?” .

“There are a lot of ethical questions about love drugs, which are certainly on the horizon. And certainly research is being done on them. Love drugs used in couples therapy could be available within three to five years”, added the academic.

In front of those present, he also wondered: “You won’t give these pills to all the people you like, right?”

The beta enfordina, behind the marital failure

Among the four neurotransmitters mentioned above, beta endorphin is the least studied and therefore the most unknown. The anthropologist suggests that the lack of this hormone is one of the main causes of marital breakdown.

“Beta endorphin is an opiate. It is made by the body and, like heroin, it is addictive,” he said.

Therefore, when the source of the drug, in this case a loved one, disappears, then the person enters a state of withdrawal: “That is the reason why, when they leave you, you feel terrible, because you are entering in opiate withdrawal syndrome,” he added.

“Obviously, if you get dumped, you don’t have a slow withdrawal and that’s why it’s so incredibly painful physiologically and psychologically when a relationship ends that way,” Machin explained.

Edited by Jose Ignacio Urrejola

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