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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Bad Breakups? Can They Affect Your Physical Health?

Breakups can be terrible experiences. Bad breakups often involve disruption of your everyday life and a lot of discomforts. Most people are aware that breakups can mess up your mental health, but are not aware of the physical aspects of it. Yes, breakups can affect your physical health.

The following are some of the ways in which a breakup affects the physical health of a human being:

A Rise in Heart Rate

The human body has an instinct called fight or flight. It is an evolutionary response that human beings have developed. It essentially means that in a situation perceived as a threat, the brain either decides to fight it or to run away.

A bad breakup triggers a similar response. The activation of the fight or flight instinct makes the body release many different types of hormones. This can create hormonal imbalances in the body.

This can lead to a rapid rise In heart rate and also cause tremors.


There are studies which show that emotional pain suffered due to a breakup is processed by the brain in a similar way as physical pain. During brain scans of people who had recently been through breakups, it was observed that the same part of the brain lights up and responds which is associated with physical pain.

Common forms of pain include:

  1. Chest pain

  2. Muscle soreness

  3. Neck Pain

  4. Headache

  5. Stomachache

Essentially any part of the body can be affected by emotional pain.

Digestive Problems

When a bad breakup occurs, the human body releases stress hormones whose purpose is to help in getting through these difficult times. However, excess production of these stress hormones can cause problems. One stress hormone which is released is known as cortisol.

One of the functions of cortisol is to divert blood supply to the body parts which are suffering from pain. Cortisol diverts the blood supply from the digestive system to these parts. The lack of blood in the digestive system gives rise to a host of stomach problems. The common stomach problems are:

  1. Stomach cramps

  2. Loss of appetite

A person suffering from a headache.

Credits: Pexels

Captions: Breakups can trigger digestive problems such as stomach cramps.

Lack of Immune Response

The immune system of the body can also be affected by a breakup. The stress which one suffers from can diminish the working capacity of the immune system. Moreover, stress hormones such as cortisol also affect its functioning.

This lack of immune response makes the body more susceptible to acquired infections. The commonly observed infections are:

  1. Diarrhoea

  2. Cold

A woman blowing her nose.

Credits: Pexels

Caption: A weak immune system makes the body more susceptible to diseases such as common cold.

Insomnia and Other Sleeping Problems

Insomnia is a condition where the sufferer has difficulty falling asleep. One of the most common things which occur due to a breakup is insomnia.

In the aftereffects of a breakup, the body undergoes chemical changes involving neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemical changes are abrupt and cause significant changes. They give rise to various sleeping problems including insomnia. Some of the other problems can be a difficulty In falling asleep, nightmares and decrease in sleep time.


The human brain processes a breakup as a rejection. This feeling of rejection causes many mental health problems such as doubting your self-worth and mood cravings, but one physical symptom of feeling rejected is cravings.

Cravings are the body’s response to being rejected. Fulfilling food cravings provides satisfaction which is missing after a bad breakup and that is why most people are adamant to fulfil their cravings.

person holding an icecream cone.

Credits: Pexels

Caption: Icecream is a common food craving.

Alt Text: A person holding an icecream cone.


While breakups can affect your physical health, most of these conditions are short-lived. They usually resolve on their own in a short time.

To deal with breakups, you need a positive attitude. If you are having difficulty in dealing with it then visiting a therapist can be helpful. In case any of the above mentioned physical conditions last for more than a week then you may need treatment and you should visit a doctor.

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