Pain and cramps. Obsessive thoughts and cravings. Zero appetite. Yep, break-ups can have a pretty drastic effect on the body – but I’m guessing you already knew that if you’re going through one right now.
Let’s start at the top with your noggin: it’s going through some serious chemical withdrawal. In fact, all those obsessive thoughts and cravings for your ex are likened to an addict withdrawing from a drug, according to scientists – because break-ups trigger the part of the brain associated with dopamine release also seen in drug addiction.
Your heart can actually hurt. Broken Heart Syndrome is a THING. In fact, cardiologists say that in some people, the risk of heart attack rises substantially after a break-up.
It’s also thought that elevated cortisol in the brain (the stress hormone) sends messages to your muscles, sending them into ‘fight or flight’ mode, and causing you to tense up and feel aches and pains. Another fun knock-on effect of too much cortisol rampaging around your system is digestive upsets: cramps, pain, zero appetite.
And let’s not forget the worst bit: looking like a puffer fish after all that crying.
Take home message? It’s going to get better, but like the shampoo commercial, it’s not going to happen overnight. So be kind to yourself.