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How does a love breakup affect health?

The latest success of Shakira and Bizarrap with messages directed at Gerard Piqué, ex-partner of the Colombian artist, has broken records and has become one of the most discussed topics Do we know how a love break affects health? What is the best therapy to overcome it?

When a love affair begins, which is very different from what happens with a breakup, our brain undergoes a series of changes with the goal of staying close to our partner, which becomes almost a drug due to the limbic system, seat of emotions and memories.

A brain in love

French neurobiologist Lucy Vincent, author of “The Neurobiology of Love” (Gedisa Editorial), explains to EFESalut that another of the symptoms the brain has during falling in love is the increase in jealousy we feel every time someone or something threatens our relationship.

The neurobiologist Lucy Vincens/ Photo provided by Gedisa ©E.Legouhy

All this causes a change in the pattern of receptors in our brain for oxytocin – known as “the love hormone” – and vasopressin – another hormone that favors wanting to be with the same partner – which causes the our sensitivity to everything related to the other and sexual activity.

And according to the neurobiologist, many experiments have shown that oxytocin is “a powerful stimulator of the immune system” so that “only for this reason would we be healthier when we fall in love”.

In addition, it should be taken into account: “All the effects linked to regular sexual activity with the partner, which stimulates the secretion of sex hormones that generally strengthen our body, repair any wounds and make us feel more energetic”. adds Vincent.

The pain when love is broken

But all good things come to an end. After a period of about 18-36 months, these effects slowly wear off and our brain finds its basal activity, where we are not as sensitive or reactive to our partner and also to sexual activity, as indicates the expert.

And what happens when love comes to an end? The neurobiologist emphasizes that the end of a relationship does not have to mean heartbreak because sometimes there is a mutual understanding that “the adventure has come to an end” and both start new relationships.

“However, when your heart is broken it can be very painful, since the part of the brain that responds to physical pain is the same that produces the pain of psychological wounds, such as heartbreak”, Vincent points out.

In fact, general health psychologist Ángeles Sanz Yaque assures EFEsalut that more and more patients are coming to consultations for emotional break-ups, not only to overcome it but also to take the step of putting an end to the relationship.

And it is that when the partner ends, “an emotional life project is broken and the destabilization is total”, continues Sanz Yaque, who clarifies that “it is always much worse for those who do not make the decision to leave the partner” because the other person who decided to break has made a different life plan.

After a love breakup, fears emerge

“It affects even the immune system, the person enters a phase of defenselessness, in which a hallucinatory anxiety is triggered, and at that moment all the insecurities appear, all the means that were covered, covered up with the relationship of couple,” argues the psychologist.

EFE/Pablo Moraga

As an example, he explains that if a person has not had good physical self-esteem because they looked fat and with the partner this feeling was not present, with the breakup this fear can be triggered, again.

French neurobiology expresses itself in the same sense because being abandoned by a partner can be harmful to health if it feels like a stressful situation, if we blame ourselves, for example.

In this case, stress can lead to an abnormal stimulation of the pituitary-pituitary-adrenal axis, with the consequent long-term increase in cortisol and adrenaline, adds the French expert.

If these “stress hormones” are released for a long time, they cause harmful effects in the body that can lead to stress-related diseases: such as stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, herpes infections, cardiovascular diseases and even all cancer

Heart strings: how to get over a love breakup

Before reaching this situation, the best therapy for anxiety, according to Vincent, is the same as for any drug, that is, to change habits so that what surrounds us does not remind us of the need for our drug

EFE/Fernando Alvarado

“In practical terms, this means going to different bars and cafes, dressing differently, seeing different friends, eating differently, taking up different hobbies, listening to different songs, etc”, suggests the neurobiologist.

For the psychologist Sanz Yaque, you first need to give yourself time to compose yourself, you don’t need to rush, even though the abandoned person wants to be soon, but it is such a profound change that many people take months and months.

“The first thing you have to accept is that you are in a bad stage and second, you have to seek support.” This can be professional, if they do not have the necessary skills to overcome it, but also from friends and family, as long as this is useful, emphasizes the psychologist, member of the Official College of Psychology of Madrid.

Spite doesn’t help

In any case, in his opinion, spite is not a good defense mechanism because it is based on the anger that one has, on a kind of revenge that “doesn’t help anything because it keeps the evil going, it doesn’t clean it”.

“The best thing is to work on this spite, which is absolutely valid, they have broken your life, they have deceived you, but you must try not to give way because it is a vicious circle, in the end the basic crisis of the breaking of the bond it is not resolved”, concludes the psychologist.

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