So, you’ve just broken up with your previous lover, and you’re undergoing all these sorts of negative emotions of rejection, betrayal and low self-esteem. You feel ill and you’re wondering if something’s happening to your body. Well, you’re right. Your body is responding to your state of mind accordingly.
What Happens to Your Body after a Breakup?
But what exactly happens to your body after a breakup? Here are studies about the physical changes that occur in your body after your heart has been broken.
- Based on a research conducted by Monroe SM et al, entitled, “Life events and depression in adolescence: Relationship loss as a prospective risk factor for first onset of major depressive disorder”, depression is one factor that results from romantic breakups.
Depression is that sinking sensation you feel after you have realized you’ve been rejected and betrayed by your loved one. Your lover has broken up with you. Take time to mourn, but after some time, you should quickly get over your relationship.
Depression could create other illnesses, such as anxiety, sleeplessness, mood swings, chest pain, headaches, dyspnea, GIT disturbances, and various behavior-related conditions.
- Another study done by Hill R. et al about depression screening in college students; has shown that depressive symptoms affect a student’s academic performance. There is a noted brain activity that reduce the student’s performance.
Thus, if you’re a college student, who have just broken up with your partner, you may suffer this scenario. But, bear in mind that you don’t have to give in to depression. You can rise above it and conquer that negative emotion. After all, it’s all in your mind.
- Another study by Dr. Ilan Wittstein et al, on Neurohumoral Features of Myocardial Stunning Due to Sudden Emotional Stress, reveals that losing someone can cause chest pain or stress cardiomyopathy. It’s also called the takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or the broken heart syndrome.
They further discovered that severe emotional stress can also cause transient myocardial dysfunction. The researchers believe that the significant increase of the secretion of catecholamine can be the secondary cause of the symptoms.
Catecholamine is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and activated by the anterior pituitary gland, from a ‘command’ by the hypothalamus. Examples of catecholamines are epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine.
Based on the study, having a heart attack can be possible because of a breakup. When you hear someone say: “I’m so heartbroken, I could die,” don’t disregard his/her statement. There’s a possibility that it could come true. So, stay with that person and comfort him/her. The person may need a sympathetic ear to be able to recover.
- A research conducted by Dr. Katherine Shear and Dr. Harry Shair on Attachment, loss, and complicated grief, had shown that bereavement can cause acute grief in individuals. The study focused on the loss of someone due to death. Nevertheless, a breakup is similar, because of the loss of someone too.
According to the study, the feeling of grief disappears over time, except for a few extreme cases. The person experiences intrusive thoughts, yearning, and other dysphoric emotions. When the person accepts the loss and faces the truth, the symptoms disappear and the person slowly returns to reality.
This is a fact that people, who have broken up with their partners, should remember. Unless you accept the reality of your situation, you can never overcome the painful physical symptoms that accompany your heartbreak.
In addition, the study revealed that stress hormones (catecholamine) are responsible for the symptoms of heartbreak.
- A study conducted by Gerra G. et al on Long-term immune-endocrine effects of bereavement: relationships with anxiety levels and mood; revealed that bereavement, depression and loss can affect the body’s immune system.
There’s a decrease in the body’s natural killer cells. The function of these cells is to rid the body of pathogenic microorganisms and toxic cancer cells. It was observed that the cortisol level in the bloodstream has increased as well.
Cortisol can cause elevated blood pressure (hypertension); elevated blood sugar , increased pulse and increased heart rate.
- There was another study done by Charles F. Reynolds III and company on Electroencephalographic sleep in spousal bereavement and bereavement-related depression of late life. In this study, Bereaved people with depression had “lower sleep efficiency”. This means that their sleep is easily disrupted and they usually wake up early. They have shorter REM or deep sleep too.
We can, therefore, conclude that after a breakup, when you have disrupted sleep and shorter REM; your sleep is insufficient. When you haven’t slept enough, this would surely lead to other illnesses, such as headache, spells of dizziness, memory blackouts, reduced cognitive skills and inability to focus.
It’s natural that you would feel depressed because of your loss, but don’t allow yourself to lose sleep over someone who have dumped you. Believe that it’s his/her loss and not yours. You’re better off with someone who would truly love and value you as a person.
Summary of Physical Effects of Breakups
These studies have disclosed the following effects of breakups to your body:
- Reduced mental abilities
- Chest pain or stress cardiomyopathy
- Increased levels of catecholamine
- Impairment of immune system
- Sleep disturbances
- Emotional stress
- Increased catecholamine in the bloodstream
- Reduced cognitive function
The above-mentioned occurrences are the incidences that could happen to your body after a breakup. The symptoms could exacerbate, only, if you allow them to. You have the choice to stop your heartbreak ‘disease’ from spreading. Here are simple steps that you can do:
- Learn how to accept the fact that your relationship is over.
- Grieve for a while, cry and feel your pain.
- Afterwards, rise from the ashes of your lost love and move on with confidence
Love can be compared to a drug. When you can’t have it, your body may display the symptoms of a broken heart. Nonetheless, fret not. You can surely recover from it. You can visit this post to know how to get over a breakup.
If you find this post useful, you may want to share it with your friends and family.
Written by Daniel Arlan