London: It is often believed that 'love is a drug' and now a new research has confirmed that romance really does work in a similar manner as addiction to illegal substances and activates a reaction in the same part of the brain.

Those smitten will produce an emotional response in the part of the grey matter usually involved with motivation and reward. Our brains have been hardwired to choose a mate, and we become so motivated to win them over that we are sometimes willing to go to extreme lengths, the Daily Mail reported.

The reward comes by identifying that something feels good and is worth the effort. "You can feel happy when you're in love, but you can also feel anxious," said Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Professor Brown insisted that the reward part of the brain or pleasure centre is vital for our survival as this drives the need to have sex.

"Intense passionate love uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when a person is addicted to drugs," co-author Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said.

Their study looked at magnetic resonance images of the brains of 10 women and seven men who claimed that they were deeply in love.

The length of their relationships ranged from one month to less than two years. Participants were shown photographs of their loved one, and photos of a similar-looking person. It found that romantic love is one of the most powerful emotions a person can have. They also divulged that the length of time couples were together made little difference to the intensity of their feelings. The researchers discovered that in each of these long-term lovers, brain regions were also stimulated when they looked at photos of their partners.

Long-term love showed activity in the regions associated with attachment and liking a reward. "For most people, the standard pattern is a slow decline in passionate love but a growth in bonding," Dr Aron said. "As long as love remains, we get used to the relationship, and we're not afraid our partner will leave us, so we're not as focused on the craving," Dr Aron added.

Courtesy: Mid-day.com