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Our Breaking Up Experts

MJ Acharya

MJ Acharya

Author, blogger and healer of broken hearts

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Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Co-author of How To Heal A Broken Heart In 30 Days

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Melissa Kantor

Melissa Kantor

Author of the young adult novel The Breakup Bible

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Q&A

If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!

coleman

Question:Is there such a physical thing as a broken heart?

A friend of mine is going thru a rough patch. I remember long ago (been married 14 years) before my husband of intense pain from breakups and I wonder if that physical pain in your heart when you lose someone is real.

Asked by coleman on 10/19/08 1 Answer»
SomethingTimeless

Answer:

I believe what you're referring to is a psychosomatic, physical manifestation to stress/sadness. It's the same thing as when people break up, and during the first couple of weeks, they say, "oh, I can't eat, I'm just not hungry." Realistically, they must eat, of course. Everyone has to. But, in terms of something so depressing as the loss of a loved one or spouse, your brain produces stress-related neurons that, if overwhelming enough, can mis/re-direct synaptic nerve signals to other areas of one’s body, signaling that there’s a problem internally any possible way that they can. Or, maybe said person is, unknowingly, not drinking enough water, unintentionally neglecting appropriate dietary needs, sleeping poorly (if at all), all of these circumstances physically, literally, cause the rest of the human body to work overtime (or work on less fuel or energy) to maintain normal internal procedures. So, yes, that’s definitely possible. I personally sometimes even throw up or have… trouble… using the restroom, whenever I am stressed or have lost a loved one. It’s the same type situation; somatic responses to mental and psychological trauma… heartache. :(

Answered by: SomethingTimeless on 11/3/08
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