Healthy Living

The Science Of Breaking Up: How Heartbreak Hurts Your Physical And Mental Health

Heart-broken teenage girl looking sad at home
The emotional impact of a breakup can not only leave you feeling broken and lonely, but can also significantly affect your physical and mental health. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The pounding headache, the fatigue, and under-eye dark circles from a breakup may have you feeling like you’re in an episode of The Walking Dead. Whether your love life was practical as Marshall and Lily’s on How I Met Your Mother, or sporadic as Rachel and Ross’s on Friends, the truth is looking at your photos, listening to your ex’s voicemails, and even cyber-stalking them isn’t going to bring them back or do your body any good. To minimize the sensation of heartbreak — the result of your body’s instinct to simultaneously speed up and slow down your heartbeat — learn what your body goes through after a breakup with BuzzFeedBlue’s video “What Happens To Your Body During A Breakup?”

If you hate breakups, chances are your brain hates them even more. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology found activity was induced in the part of the brain that also registers physical pain when participants were shown pictures of their exes. This is because emotional and physical pain share neural pathways in the brain. Your brain is signaling to your body that a breakup actually hurts.

"Going through a breakup might also create sleeplessness, weight gain, and overall decreased critical thinking,” says the BuzzFeedblue video. This is due to the tumbling of the feel-good natural chemicals dopamine and oxytocin, and the steady release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Your kind of walloping during a breakup is also a reflection of how your body generally responds to stress. For example, those suffering from asthma may find themselves using their inhaler more often, while those with digestive issues may be more susceptible to cramps and appetite loss during a breakup.

It may also be difficult to let go of your ex because they were like a drug to your brain as you became accustomed to your ex being in your life. Now, your neural circuits will need time to readjust to the new circumstances of singledom. Going through a breakup sucks, but this too shall pass.

To learn how to get over your ex in five simple steps, read Medical Daily’s: The Lonely Hearts Club: 5 Simple Steps On How To Get Over a Breakup And Move Along.

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