Pain In Brain: Neuroscience Of Breakups

  • Cognitive researches show that getting over a breakup or moving on can be very difficult, probably when it’s the first few months.
  • You might feel like you are broken and punched down in the stomach.
  • Many insecurities develop; many thoughts about rejection, self-doubt, and feelings of being baffled surrounds you.
  • Deep down, due to this unwanted breakup, your feelings are hurt, and it causes psychological distress.
  • Researcher Edward Smith from Columbia University, who is also a cognitive neuroscientist, along with his colleagues, recruited participants from the social networking sites in Manhattan who had unwanted breakups in a relationship over the past six months.

Watch this Video to see How BReakups affect your brain.

  • Research conducted on relationship breakups in unmarried individuals provides a sense of how subjectively traumatic such events are.
  • Scientists compared two brain scans; the brain scan of people who got rejected, showed that various brain areas had lit up when they see their ex-partners’ photos.
  • Simultaneously, they took brain scans of people who were shown their friend’s picture, and they were exposed to pain via a hot surgical instrument on the arm.
  • The scientists discovered that when people looked at their partner pictures or experienced physical pain, some parts of their brain lit up.
  • But it did not show any activity when they were shown their friend’s picture.
  • Insula and anterior cingulate cortex are the regions in the brain that experience pain and numbness after such disturbing events.
  • The role of pain is to alert people to physical hazards or harm to protect them.
  • Breakup is a little like a shock.
  • The person passes through a series of emotional pain, distraction and goes through intense feelings and obsessive thoughts.
  • People who recently got dumped in their relationships are often obsessive. They may always think about their ex-partner.
  • People often think about the places they used to go together, the holidays and activities which they shared may trigger such thoughts or feelings of loss.
  • The research shows that women take more responsibilities in a relationship; they think more about what went wrong and what could have they done differently.
  • A professor in the department of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Lucy Brown, along with her colleagues took brain scans of 15 adults through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) who had an unwanted breakup or still had feeling love for the ex-partner.
  • People can go through a lot of depression after their ex-partner leaves them; it is similar to the way drug addicts want a drug that taken away from them.
  • It can lead to extreme physiological and emotional distress.
  • Students in colleges stated that it takes about ten weeks to recover from a breakup. Scientific studies have also shown that brain activity decreases as time passes.
  • If your emotions are too strong to cope with or you are depressed, consult a therapist.
  • You could try the approach of Rick Hanson and reprogram the brain to think positive.


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