“Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if you we died when they did, but we don’t.”
– Stephen Hawking
Well apparently, there is a possibility. The emotional impact of a breakup can’t only leave you feeling broken, but can also significantly affect your physical and mental health.
Yes. It can be traumatic and can manifest as a physical condition. The sensation of a heartbreak might be a result of your body’s instinct to simultaneously speed up or slow down your heartbeat, in which due to that emotional stress, one will feel the physical pain.
Officialy it is known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome. It is a condition with symptoms that can mimic those of a heart attack as it is heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones.
The stress itself can be a problem as it is a risk factor for heart disease. Constantly exposed to stress hormones, like adrenaline and corisol, change in the way blood clots, to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow, which makes a heart attack or stroke more likely.
One study examined the brain of the people who recently undergoing the breakup phase. The subjects are shown pictures of their exes and through the fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) reveal that the sadness they felt while looking at the photos induced activity in the part of the brain that also register physical pain. That is because the emotional and the physical pain are processed on the same regions.
Not only that, heartbreaks can also lead to appetite changes, lack of motivation, weight loss, weigh gain, overeating, headaches, stomach pain and general sense of being unwell. There are cases that patients experienced breakups or mourning the death of someone had a stroke or heart attack due to the stress.
Being with someone is like a drug to the brain that when they’re gone, your neurological circuits must readjust to new circumstances of being on your own. Treating the effects of heartbreak, while allowing the person to mourn the loss of a relationship, can be a tricky balance. To combat the effects of breakup, you need to stay active even when you don’t want to, share your thoughts and stay social and stick to your regular eating habits.
It sucks but it won’t last forever. Nothing is. The only cure for heartbreak and emotional pain is time. In time, your body chemistry will revert back to normal. And you’ll be stronger that you ever thought you could be. Live in the moment as the future is unwritten. Bear in mind, that every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our lives.