Broken heart: what are the physical symptoms?
When a person goes through heartbreak, they are likely to experience one procession of both psychological and physical symptoms : sleep disturbances, weight loss or gain, loss of vital momentum, feeling of inner emptiness, crying, anxiety attacks, lack of self-esteem, mental rumination, obsessive thoughts, compensatory addictive behavior…
This period can be experienced as a real physical pain such as a ” burn partially activating the same brain areas as this type of pain, according to some studies,” reports Sebastien Garnero.
On another level, for some, this phase will be expressed by several psychosomatic disorders and transformations from the body:
- back lock,
- abdominal pains,
- irritable bowel,
- arrhythmia, cardiac tachycardia,
- skin problems (eczema, hives, etc.)
These symptoms express metaphorically nut, lack of the other. “Therefore, it is not uncommon for some to present a muteness, a sudden aphonia that leaves them speechless”, adds the expert.
“One could qualify as a phenomenon of love depression but also of love traumas of loss, shock and helplessness that we find ourselves in. It also corresponds to withdrawal,” adds Sébastien Garnero.
Broken heart: 5 things a breakup can do to the body
To understand the arrival of the symptoms of “trauma in love” that the expert talks about, we must first understand what happens in the body when the relationship is in good shape.
“On plan neurobiological, a whole series of successive and simultaneous reactions will occur and maintain the state of love, says Sébastien Garnero. During the different successive phases of the realization of the state of love, we find many neurotransmitters involved: Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Phenylethylamine and different brain areas related to perceptual and emotional activity.
“Throughout the consolidated love process, other neurotransmitters will be added to it, such as: oxytocinthat vasopressin (affective attachment, emotional connection), prolactin; which contribute to well-being, attachment, affectivity and tenderness; that serotonin (emotional regulation, feeling of happiness, positive mood…), the serotonin (role in mood, emotionality, happiness, etc.), endomorphins (sensations of intense fullness, powerful relaxants…)”.
This process will be self-sustaining as long as the phase of passionate momentum lasts. These are the hormones that will push us to feed this insatiable desire to be with the other, as a dope so we cannot do without.
“Well during the break we will participate to these reverse neurobiological phenomena in cascade with a particularly intense physical, emotional and psychological feeling”, announces our psychologist.
Broken heart: in case of a break, your oxytocin levels drop
Studies have already proven that the pain felt during a breakup is quite observable in terms of real pain, just like physical pain. For example, a search is forwarded within Journal of Neuroscience and conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado (USA) shows that strong emotional pain activates brain areas corresponding to physical pain. So those who are “broken hearted” have quite good objective reasons for feeling subjectively real love pain.
“One of the neurophysiologically most important hormones in this broken heart problem is oxytocin, which contributes to the attachment regulation system in humans as well as in other mammals. That dopamine also plays a significant role in love phenomena, (genuine pleasure hormone), vasopressin (attachment, fidelity), serotonin (mood regulation and well-being), cortisol (stress), testosterone (drive), also have their roles in this loving alchemy”, explains the specialist.
“For example, with regard to dopamine, the key to activating pleasure, the reward system and the feeling of love, which works fully during the passionate love phase in particular: the brain produces large amounts of it, or in the case of a breakup, this rate drops drastically creating a feeling of lack corresponding to a form of addiction and withdrawal syndrome in the heartbreak phase”.
Similarly, oxytocin was high during the mating and bonding phases. During the breakup, the sudden drop of this neurotransmitter leads to a feeling of emotional insecurityphase of doubt and psychological distress
“At this stage, we are considering a resumption of contact, or want to give ourselves new opportunities and opportunities to resume this couple. On the psychological level, it is often a defense mechanism close to denial, where one does not want to see the reality of this breakup”, describes the psychologist.
Rupture: the parasympathetic system shuts down
Compared to cortisol (stress), it is over-activated, generating even more stress, sense of urgency, uncertainty, anxiety, even anxiety.
“Conversely, the parasympathetic system is shut down. This system is essential because it promotes calming processes, body relaxation, a decrease in cardiorespiratory activity, blood pressure, the correct functioning of the intestinal passage, sleep, etc., explains Sébastien Garnero. This dysfunction in the regulation of the sympathetic/parasympathetic system largely explains the cascade of events that will occur both mentally and physically (most often loss of appetite, but sometimes the opposite, intestinal disturbances, cardiac arrhythmia, etc.).
In this phase of abandonment, a continuous flow of cortisol and epinephrine will be released, causing not only psychological, but also physical reactions: psychosomatic symptomsafter effects on appetite, sleep … “We go from the phase of emotional anguish to physical consequences”, according to the psychologist.
Stress hormones will send messages to organs and muscles
Excess stress hormones at the cerebral level will directly send continuous messages to the afferent organs and muscles via the blood flow to increase the alarm system associated with the threat of loss. This phenomenon is responsible for physical tension pain, dizziness, headache, stomach, chest, back pain…
A broken heart can trigger problems with arrhythmia
“In certain rare cases, the broken heart will trigger, in addition to the problems of arrhythmia, or tachycardia well-known Tako Tsubo syndrome (as cardiologists call it). It corresponds to a type of heart attack due to an emotional stress overreaction. The broken heart is thus no longer just a metaphor, but is actualized in the body,” adds the expert.
In general, when we experience a break, everything happens as if a part of the prefrontal cortex was deactivated, which no longer allows us to process information. We are caught up in the urgency of the emotional situation.
Broken heart: in the worst cases, it can lead to suicidal thoughts
In the worst cases, some “broken heart” problems can give way to depressions suicidal thoughts. “The subject no longer sees a way out of his romantic drama and asks himself the question of why one lives without the other beloved… Of course, this phenomenon is relatively rare and often related to the history of the subject. , of his problems with insecure attachment and past experiences that come to be reactivated in the trauma of the romantic separation, experienced as one abandonmenta total rejection of his being, a questioning of his identity”.
Fortunately, in most cases it will only be a “broken heart”. Life testand step into the emotional plane before you are able to reconnect with a new love that brings fulfillment, serenity and harmony.