Have you ever heard the term “she died of a broken heart?” While breaking up with a boyfriend or going through a divorce is not usually life-threatening, it can be hard on both your mind and your body. A breakup can cause a lot of emotional strain leading to real physical changes in your body. This is often referred to as the mind-body connection. Maybe your stomach hurts or perhaps you just don’t have any appetite at all. You may notice that you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach when looking at a picture or thinking about a past experience with your ex. You may feel achy all over and notice that your face is breaking out. What is going on?
An emotional trauma like a breakup can cause your adrenal glands to start churning out the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are the hormones that are responsible for your body’s fight or flight response. When this natural response happens, it can cause your blood pressure to rise. Most of the time the level of these hormones go back to normal after the stressful situation is over. However, if this fight or flight response stays turned on for a long period of time it can lead to a myriad of physical problems.
If you have noticed that your stomach hurts or that you have a decrease in appetite, your stressed out nervous system may be sending a signal to your digestive system to slow down. This stressed out nervous system can also decrease your immune system leaving you more susceptible to infections and viruses. If your skin is breaking out, higher levels of the hormone cortisol in your body may be triggering the buildout of pore clogging oil underneath your skin.
In most cases the old saying that “time heals all wounds” is true. Over time you may start to feel like yourself again. However if your physical symptoms do not get better over time, is important to schedule an appointment with your physician so that he or she can prescribe the appropriate treatment or treatments to help you manage your symptoms and regain your quality of life.