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This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Go Through A Breakup

After a sudden breakup, we've all experienced that sinking feeling in our stomachs.

We've dealt with the sudden changes in appetite and the physical pain that can only be described as our “hearts hurting.”

While some of you might think our emotions don't have much to do with our overall wellbeing, these physical side effects of heartbreak are real.

They're not just figments of your imagination.

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, told Scientific American,

Neuroimaging studies have found that being rejected, even by a stranger, activates many of the same regions in the brain as when experiencing physical pain.

So, if getting dissed by a stranger can cause someone physical pain, then getting dumped by the love of your life can feel like getting nailed by a 12-wheeler.

How Your Emotions Can Impact Your Physical Health

As it turns out, you aren't just being dramatic.

In fact, there is a load of scientific evidence that prove breakups cause a lot of physical changes in the body and even the brain.

While some of these physical changes begin the moment you and your now-ex call it quits, some take a bit more time to kick in.

But, all of them can be massively taxing on your physical and emotional health.

So when your BFF calls you eight times a day to check in on you, be sure to take her advice because your body and mind are both going through hell.

You're actually experiencing withdrawal.

A 2010 study showed that missing your significant other lights up the same parts of your brain that are active in cocaine users who are waiting for their next hit.

At the very least, this provides all the scientific evidence you should need to block your ex's number.


You're so sad that your muscles get sore.

When you break up with someone you love, your body releases massive amounts of adrenaline and cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormones that kick in when you are in a life-or-death situation.

However, having a surplus of these hormones when you're actually not in physical danger can wreak havoc on the system, causing you to suffer from sore muscles that swell up from a massive cortisol release that isn't followed by your body springing into physical action afterward.

I guess this is why I only like cardio when my heart is crying.


Your heart grows larger than its normal size.

This is not a drill.

When you are going through a breakup, your heart actually enlarges temporarily in a condition identified by The American Heart Association as broken heart syndrome, which can lead to real cardiovascular consequences.

Signs of broken heart syndrome include chest pain and an irregular heartbeat, and it is sometimes misdiagnosed as a heart attack.

The good news is, it usually clears up within a few weeks, but the bad news is, it can lead to short-term heart muscle failure.

(As if you needed anything else to be afraid of, aside from the general panic of possibly dying alone.)

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Your skin is more likely to break out.

A 2007 study found that skin breakouts are 23 percent more likely to happen when people are under significant stress, like say the world-shattering disappearance of your life partner.

And when you're hitting the bars like Stella getting her groove back, there's nothing better than cystic acne between your eyebrows to say to the world, “I've put everything behind me, and I'm ready to move on.”

In addition to all of the above side effects, it's also been evidenced that going through a split can cause hair loss, slowed digestion and an unevenly large distribution of fat to the stomach.

But don't worry. There can also be a bright side to a breakup.

Peter Loffredo, LCSW and author of Full Permission Living, tells Elite Daily,

Very often, what happens after a breakup is the codependent bond is broken[.]

In terms of stress, it is widely known and accepted now that stress suppresses the immune system and throws the person's physical and emotional body into fight-or-flight mode.

A breakup can be stressful, but it can also be liberating. It can go either way, sometimes both.

Hopefully, after everything, that at least cheers you up.

Citations: Psychology Today (The Neuroscience of Relationship Breakups)

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Rosebud Baker

Editor

Rosebud Baker is a standup comic and writer in NYC. Follow her on Twitter, where she desperately seeks the approval of strangers, but will settle for just attention.
Rosebud Baker is a standup comic and writer in NYC. Follow her on Twitter, where she desperately seeks the approval of strangers, but will settle for just attention.

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