Heartbreak is a painful experience. The pain that a person goes through can be beyond words and explanations. Feeling sad, lonely, and hurt are among a few emotional experiences that one has including physiological sensations such as heaviness in the chest, tightness in throat, and discomforting knots in gut. Heart break can also look like depression such as feeling sad, tired, and unmotivated towards life in general.
Tiffany Field in her 2011 article Romantic Breakups, Heartbreak and Bereavement says that heartbreak is similar to other losses such as death and divorce which leads to symptoms like intrusive thoughts, difficulty controlling those thoughts, insomnia, and lower immune functioning. Perhaps one of the most annoying aspects is the difficulty to control intrusive thoughts leading to constant ruminations. Thoughts are often associated with questions of whys and hows creating a never ending cycle with no desirable outcome. Due to lack of clear and satisfying answer on whose fault it was, the individual might go back and forth between blaming themselves and the other person. As result, they might feel guilty, angry, and frustrated.
Field (2011) also points out to “Broken heart syndrome” a term used in medical field when heartbreak mimics many aspects of real heart attack such as increased norepinephrine and epinephrine, pain in heart and chest, reduced heart contraction, and certain types of muscle spasm to restrict blood flow and oxygen. The good news is that most people are resilient and can get through the experience using helpful coping skills while others with genetic and environmental vulnerabilities might struggle. Sometimes vulnerable individuals might turn to unhelpful coping styles such as sex, drugs, and alcohol.
To increase better coping skills and heal your emotional pain, book an appointment with your therapist today.
Khobi Attai, MA, specializes the areas of abuse and domestic violence, as well as a variety of other subjects. For more information on Khobi and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.