What is the most painful feeling emotionally

Heartache: This happens in the body

Silvia is devastated. She was with Max for two years. It was love At first sight, there was even talk of moving in together and having a family. She could have imagined everything with Max. Just not that he breaks up overnight. Stop her. End the relationship. No more common future. Just because. Your thoughts only revolve around this one topic, even talking for hours with all your friends is of no help. Time, the world and your heart seem to stand still. Silvia suffers from the separation from Max and is more sad than ever in her life. But what is lovesickness actually, what happens to him body with lovesickness and how is the great emotional chaos explained medically?

What is lovesickness?

Lovesickness is not just a romantically transfigured feeling, an emotional phase of suffering that is typical of teenage years, but a serious problem that can be troubling at any age. Lovesickness counts as a recognized illness that affects the heart and body and that can arise when our feelings go crazy because we have to part with a loved one, our love is not returned or we are in an existing one relationship are unhappy. Incidentally, the medical name for lovesickness is "amorital disease". At first, lovesickness is accompanied by normal psychological and physical symptoms. We are sad, body and soul react to the heartache with complaints such as insomnia and loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, mood swings and fears about the future. Some people are aggressive or hostile towards others because their feelings are so hurt, or they have less interest in their surroundings and less enjoyment in life. If this condition persists for a long time, the inner pain of lovesickness can, in the worst case, develop into a severe depression and take away the courage to face life. In this case, you should definitely seek professional help.

In the case of severe lovesickness, there is often an increased consumption of drugs such as alcohol and nicotine or the excessive intake of tablets to suppress the unsightly feelings. But: Even if the pain is so great, it is better to keep your hands off such remedies, because the risk of becoming dependent is particularly great in times of lovesickness.

Why does our body suffer so much from lovesickness?

Why do we suffer so much from the feelings that separation causes? Because we not only imagine the pain that makes us so sad, but because it is really there. We feel the grief after a broken relationship physically because "serious love afflictions not only affect the soul, but also the brain functions," says psychologist Ursula Nuber from Munich (book "Who am I without you", Campus Verlag). The American psychologist Naomi Eisenberger from the University of California in Los Angeles also confirmed that the neural patterns in the brain in severe social distress are similar to those of physical pain, such as those that occur in injuries. "If someone feels unloved, lonely and unwanted, it also hurts physically," says Eisenberger.

The physical pain is explained as follows: When we love someone with all our hearts, we are intoxicated with strong feelings of happiness. We feel as if we are floating a few inches above the ground and see everything through rose-colored glasses. To the body, being in love is like a drug that we become addicted to very quickly. In times of great love, our body produces more dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel very happy, and puts us in a state that is commonly referred to as happiness. We don't want to spend a minute of our time without the other, we just feel happy when the other is with us and carry a whole horde of butterflies around in our stomachs that put our bodies in a state of intoxication. Sounds wonderful - and it is. If this feeling of happiness is taken away from us, however, it is like withdrawal from drugs, because when lovesickness the release of dopamine decreases and the body reacts to it. At least in the short term, we are no longer in control of our thoughts and feelings, we cannot imagine a life without our partner and are often in need of help to overcome the phase of Sadness to survive.

A broken heart

In extreme cases, lovesickness can lead to a broken heart called broken heart syndrome. It develops out of a heavy emotional burden. These can be both positive events, such as winning the lottery, and negative events, such as the death of a loved one. Usually it is women who suffer from broken heart syndrome. Only in rare cases is the disease diagnosed in men. "Women have passed menopause and are between 50 and late 70's when they fall ill," says Christoph Nienaber, director of cardiology at the Rostock University Clinic (source: www.spiegel.de). It is still unclear why it almost exclusively affects this group. "One theory is that the female body reacts particularly strongly to stress hormones after the menopause," says Nienaber. "This has not yet been proven." Anyone who suffers from broken heart syndrome suffers from chest pain, shortness of breath and, among other things Cardiac arrhythmias. Symptoms that resemble a heart attack and - even if only in minor cases - can be fatal if you do not seek medical help quickly enough. The difference to a heart attack: In a heart attack, the coronary arteries are closed, in broken heart syndrome it narrows due to the shortness of breath and the physical excitement due to a high release of adrenaline.

Process the breakup

Lovesickness is hard to fight against. The processing of grief is elementary and usually goes through the following five phases: not wanting to be true and isolation, negotiating and erupting feelings, depression, anger and acceptance. This classification of the phases of mourning was largely developed by the Swiss psychiatrist and death researcher Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. The theories of the phases are based on the suffering phase of the dying, but, according to Kübler-Ross, can be applied to any kind of fighting grief and loss. It doesn't matter whether it's the loss of a person, a job, or other emotional obstacles like the end of a relationship. The sequence of the phases of mourning does not always follow the same principle: phases can be experienced mixed up or repeated and last different lengths of time for each person. Sometimes a phase is left out completely.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross dealt with the psyche and the care of the terminally ill and dying. For her book "Interviews with the Dying" from 1969 she worked with more than 200 dying people from the USA. As a result of their efforts, the first so-called "hospices" were set up in the USA, in which the sick are cared for and accompanied until they die.

Phase 1: Not wanting to be true

In the case of Silvia and Max it was like this: After Max had ended the relationship with Silvia overnight, a feeling of numbness and disbelief spread in her heart. "It can't be that he doesn't want to be with me anymore. Actually, everything is fine between us." Silvia does not want to accept the separation and calls Max. Multiple. Vain. He doesn't respond. Nevertheless, she hopes that everything will be fine and that everything will be just a bad dream.

Often times after the breakup, people tend to curl up and not tell anyone about the grief because it makes the end of the relationship less real. What helps in this phase of "not wanting to be true" is to consciously talk to friends and close confidants about the grief. This helps to make the new situation tangible and maybe also to understand it better so that we can deal with it at some point.

Phase 2: The feelings that break out

Once the grief has become tangible, the great feelings spread. Silvia is sitting at home and weeping her eyes out of her head. She no longer understands the world and has the feeling that she is going crazy. She is plagued by self-doubt and cannot imagine how life will go on without Max and how she will ever overcome this grief. And then there are also the physical complaints. She is already a regular customer at the pharmacy because she alternately has to deal with stomach ache, dizziness and nausea. She hasn't been able to sleep through for a long time. What helps in this phase of the beginning feelings: Surrounding yourself with different people, rushing into work or looking for an interesting hobby to distract yourself from the pain of separation. Even if at first you may not feel like doing anything at all and it seems unimaginable that a new hobby can be fun at all in such a situation. Overcome your weaker self, because this is primarily about giving yourself other thoughts.

Phase 3: Depression

Silvia tried everything possible to distract herself from her lovesickness and to come to terms with the breakup. But she just can't get Max out of her head. He has long since had a new girlfriend. Now Silvia not only has to struggle with lovesickness and longing, but also with jealousy of the new one. Jealousy and longing are forms of lovesickness. If one cannot find the way out of the phase of the beginning feelings, caution is advised, because the great sadness can quickly develop into serious depression if the feelings of separation pain last too long.

What if the grief doesn't lessen?

Lovesickness can range from a mild form with a relatively short duration to long and severe despair. As a rule, mourners overcome their heartache on their own within a certain period of time. The well-known proverb is called "Time heals all wounds" for a reason. But if the grief just doesn't get any less, then one shouldn't be afraid to seek psychological help. If you don't know where, it's best to contact your GP first and explain your problem. You are sure to get some valuable tips or other contacts along the way that will help you overcome your grief.

Phase 4: anger and anger

After Silvia has let her feelings run free for days, she slowly comes to. "Why am I suffering from such an idiot?" She's pissed off now and lets her anger run wild. That's a good thing. What helps in the phase of "anger and anger": Let the anger out! This increases the emotional distance to your partner and the broken relationship by itself and thus helps to process the separation and to overcome the grief. And: Banish the old photos of your partner and the most painful other memories - because they stir up feelings of grief in our body. Why? Because every time we look at a picture of our ex-partner, for example, we activate the same region in the brain that painfully signals withdrawal in drug addicts.

Phase 5: acceptance and reorientation

Now that all the souvenir photos from the apartment have disappeared either in the garbage or in a box in the attic, Silvia is ready for a fresh start. After the time it took, she processed the breakup and overcame the grief over it. Even if she hasn't forgotten Max: she can enjoy life more and look to the future with courage. What should not be missing in the phase of reorientation, when you have left the pain of separation behind: New! Rearrange your furniture, plan a trip, create new interests, meet new people or finally deepen something that you have neglected during the relationship! How about a visit to the hairdresser to start with?

By the way: did you know that Italian men, in addition to the three most common behaviors "suppressing", "withdrawing" and "talking to friends", go to the hairdresser when they are lovesick?

The good side of lovesickness

The fact that lovesickness can also have something positive is probably not understandable at first for a lovesick plagued by strong grief. Still, having processed heartache has many benefits. You grow with it, develop personally, concentrate on yourself and you mature. In addition, you get to know each other particularly well in such extreme situations.