Emotional Breakup Affects Your Health – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Doctor Maxwell Adeyemi -
Doctor Maxwell Adeyemi –


THE STRESS of breaking up a relationship can be psychologically crippling and emotionally crippling for some people. Furthermore, it can negatively affect the physiology of the body in many ways which can compromise your health. Heartbreak can kill people mentally, psychologically, and physically.

Withdrawal symptoms

They say love is a drug, and people are found to experience withdrawal symptoms from their partner after separation, similar to the experience of addicts craving for cocaine.

The distress experienced during a split activates the same part of the brain that is stimulated during addiction.

Analysis of brain scans of broken hearts has shown similarities between romantic rejection and cocaine cravings.

Depression, anxiety and insomnia

After a breakup, people are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, conditions that can lead to insomnia, and which in turn are also made worse by lack of sleep.

The anguish of a breakup brings back deep memories of being abandoned as children that everyone keeps even without knowing it.

A human being is programmed to need human contact and to be affected when human contact is withdrawn.

So, a breakup revokes those emotions and leaves us feeling insecure, angry, and sad.

People go through a similar grieving process during a breakup as when someone has died.

They go through the cycle of mourning, typically shock, denial, grief, anger, guilt, self-blame, helplessness, fear of the future, depression, and then acceptance.

If people feel abandoned but don’t feel anger, they become depressed, they lose faith in their ability to be in a relationship in the future.

They get anxious, may relive conversations and the breakdown in their mind. They may not sleep, which makes anxiety and depression worse.

Heart attack

After a breakup or divorce, the body is flooded with the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

This causes the heart to beat faster and triggers abnormal heart rhythms.

People start to worry, adrenaline levels soar, the body goes into “fight or flight mode,” and stress can cause a sudden heart attack and death.

They turn pale, the heart starts beating too fast. When it does, you have narrowing of the arteries that is not normally significant, but becomes significant when stressed.

Even if you don’t have a heart attack, it can cause an irregular heartbeat and a rapid heartbeat.

For people who suffer from this type of stress, it’s like putting your heart on a hard drug like cocaine. Stress can even cause the symptoms of a heart attack even if the arteries aren’t blocked.

Women tend to die suddenly in the short term after a breakup, but more men die of heart attacks in the long term.

Skin disorder

Stress hormones released after a breakup can aggravate the skin. Skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, alopecia and acne deteriorate after a breakout, due to a cocktail of hormones rushing through the body. A breakup is of course one of the biggest things that can happen in a person’s life, comparable to bereavement.

A cocktail of stress hormones floods the body and can harm your health in all sorts of ways. Anecdotal evidence shows that stress and depression are linked to worsening psoriasis, eczema, alopecia and even acne. Not only do stress hormones trigger changes in the skin, but people may become distracted after a breakup and have their treatment regimen slide.

Loss of appetite, weight gain and digestive problems

People are often too lovesick to eat in the first few weeks after a breakup. This is because when stressed, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus produces a hormone that suppresses your appetite.

The brain also sends messages to the adrenal glands to the kidneys to pump adrenaline, which triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, which puts eating on hold. But in the long run, stress causes weight gain, especially around the middle.

It makes cells less sensitive to the hormone insulin and so the body produces more insulin in response. But insulin turns sugar into fat, increasing the rate at which fat is stored in the body and leading to weight gain.

It also causes the body to crave sugar and fat which leads to mindless eating. Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less and drink more alcohol, which can lead them to pack on the pounds.

Stress also diverts blood from the digestive system, which can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation.

Puffy eyes

Scientists have discovered that we shed different “types” of tears. Basal tears are released to keep the eyes moist, and reflex tears are released in response to irritants, such as when a person cuts an onion.

Tears associated with emotional crying are called psychic tears and are produced by the lacrimal gland, located in the upper corner of the eyelids. They are more watery and less salty than basal and reflex tears.

Emotional tears overflow, run down the cheeks, and flow through tiny tubes at the back of the nose. Then, due to the osmosis process, the water moves into the saltier tissues of the eyes, which causes them to swell and look puffy. A lot of rubbing with tissues can also make them red and sore.

It is always wise to seek help coping with your issues after emotional and relationship trauma, especially if you feel you are not coping well.

Seek professional help and advice to deal with mental health issues and medical issues that may result from emotional stress or breakups and relationship difficulties.

Contact Dr Maxwell on 3631807 or 7575411

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