It is not rare for people to describe the feeling of love as “intoxicating”.
But scientists have found that oxcytocin – the so-called “love hormone” – has similar affects to being drunk in both positive and negative ways.
The study found that the chemical increases levels of altruism and generosity, as well as making people feel more relaxed.
However, it also made people more aggressive and envious of potential competitors.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham compared the effects of alcohol to oxcytocin by administering the hormone in a nasal spray.
Dr Ian Mitchell, from the School of Psychology at Birmingham University, said: “They [oxcytocin and alcohol] appear to target different receptors within the brain, but cause common actions.
“These neural circuits control how we perceive stress or anxiety, especially in social situations such as interviews, or perhaps even plucking up the courage to ask somebody on a date.”
Another potentially worrying comparison between love and alcohol was that they make people less risk adverse.
The researchers said they thought it was unlikely that people would ever start taking oxcytocin instead of alcohol but said that it might be of use when treating psychological and psychiatric conditions.