What Happens to your Body after a Break Up?

What Happens to your Body after a Break Up?

Breakups are difficult. It doesn’t matter if the separation was the result of something casual that ran its course or something more dramatic. Breakups can be very painful experiences but it’s a part of life most of us have or will go through at some point or other. So maybe it’s best to learn to deal with the situation head on and find out how to cope with it in order to make the transition a less painful experience

The main challenge most people encounter is how to get over someone after a breakup. That is the main focus of this guide. We try to help you comprehend what exactly is happening to your mind and body when you’re going through a breakup – especially where the breakup was not amicable or by mutual decision. Having a good understanding of what’s happening to your body in such a situation will help you make practical changes to your daily routine to aid you in the recovery process.

Has your ex ever texted you repeatedly or drunk called you at 5am? Have you ever showed up at your ex’s house and watched the front door from your car? Well you’ll be happy to know that a lot of these actions are normal and explainable. Many of the actions you take during the transition from being in a relationship to being single are down to chemical imbalances in the brain and body triggered by the breakup itself. So yes, it’s perfectly normal to reach for that large tub of Ben & Jerry’s or Facebook stalk your ex and we will show you why. We will also explain why some of the pain and hurt you feel is actually more real than you think. For example, when people say “my heart is broken” did you know that it’s not just a saying but a very real affliction?

Broken Heart Syndrome

A lot of people complain of a broken heart after they lose someone they love. They feel pain but think it’s just something in their head and while friends laugh it off as an overreaction it can actually cause serious health issues. “Studies by The American Heart Association have shown that the heart enlarges during the Broken Heart Syndrome and may cause tensed muscle or a muscle that has swollen due to trauma. This unusual enlargement can lead to some additional, rather disturbing symptoms.”

Breakups and Physical Pain

A study by neuroscientists at Columbia University used brain scans to monitor the brain activity of subjects who had recently broken up. The brain scans of the participants who had gone through a breakup were compared to the scans of other subjects who had been given a hot probe on the arm. The subjects who had gone through the breakup were shown photos of their ex, then pictures of their friends. The results were amazing, they showed that the exact parts of the brain that are active in physical pain were active when the subjects were shown photos of their ex. When they viewed photos of their friends, these parts of the brain were inactive. The subjects who were burned on the arm experienced the same brain activity as the ones shown photos of their ex.

Breakups and Dopamine

Dopamine is the hormone in our brains that makes us seek out pleasure and satisfaction. High dopamine levels can often be seen in the brains of people that are in love but also drug users. We have all seen how a drug addict behaves when the drug is taken away from them but did you know that when love is taken away our bodies behave the exact same way? We become irrational and either try to immediately replace one “drug” with another or we go cold turkey and things get crazy.

A drop in Serotonin

Serotonin is a hormone that keeps our moods in check. It stops obsessive compulsive behaviour and while most hormone levels increase, serotonin which keeps you calm and balanced drops dangerously low during a breakup causing you to do irrational things like calling your ex 20 times a day.

Now you’re probably thinking, this is all fine and dandy, but how long do I have to endure this pain? Truth is, there have been several studies to answer this, however, scientist have not been able to find a definite answer. They could not establish any correlation between the length of the relationship and how long it takes for you to be your former self again. What they found was it does not matter whether you’ve been in a relationship for 6 months or 6 years. What matters is how much you valued the relationship. Having said that, its seems that its takes between 2 months to 2 years for most people to get over their breakup.

Now you’re probably reading this and thinking things are hopeless, or that you will never cope. But as someone who has gone through it all and come out in one piece, I can assure you that once you see the actual science and reasoning behind your actions and feelings, you will be better equipped to deal with them and move on to bigger and better things. As it turns out, there are a lot of things you can do to make things better and if you wait for next week we can show you 8 Ways to Cope with a Break Up.

words by Daniel Arlan
image courtesy of Hailey Kean on Unsplash