heartbreak is similar to physical pain
  • When you are ignored by a person whose attention means the most to you the reaction in your brain will be similar to physical pain

  • Research suggests that heartbreak is a form of addiction withdrawal and post-relationship grief affects men, in the long term, more than women

  • Studies showed that it is difficult to deal with romantic rejection because of the brain areas that are activated as a result of a breakup

  • Functional MRI scans have shown that a romantic breakup activates brain parts that are similar to when a person suffers from physical pain

  • In a study, researchers recruited participants who went through recent breakups. They were passed through fMRI machines while they looked at photos of their ex

  • Several areas of the participants’ brains fired up including brains areas that are associated with motivation and reward

  • The motivational model of the brain is active when a person is in love.

  • Researchers observed that even though participants were aware of their breakup cognitively their motivation and reward system was still active

  • It also activates the same brain regions that are triggered by cocaine addiction

  • The brain activity of individuals who viewed images of their rejecters was very similar to that of an addict going through drug withdrawals

  • It is because when you are in love, your brain activates the reward system
Brain scan when you are in love
  • This reward system triggers the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone

  • The hormone is also produced when you are addicted to nicotine and cocaine

  • So when you are in love, you are actually an addict

  • Women suffer more both emotionally and physically after romantic breakups but once they overcome the stage of a breakup, they recover more fully

  • Men on the other hand are able to move on more easily than women, initially but they are not able to recover completely from their loss

  • As time passes, the feeling of loss gets deeper, affecting their mental health

  • But the good news is, there is reduced activity in the brain area responsible for emotional attachment with time and the area of the brain which looks for personal gain and loss is more activated

  • Suggesting that individuals learn how to adapt to the rejection with time

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