Tags: broken | heart | real | condition

‘Broken Heart’ a Real Condition

Monday, 27 February 2012 12:40 PM

Suffering from a “broken heart” isn’t just some quaint romantic notion. Scientists have found social pain -- after a relationship ends or rejection – is real.
An analysis of new research on the phenomenon, published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, has found ample evidence of what scientists called a significant “overlap between physical and social pain” because both types are processed in the same regions of the brain.

"Rejection is such a powerful experience for people," said study author Naomi Eisenberger of the University of Califiornia-Los Angeles. "If you ask people to think back about some of their earliest negative experiences, they will often be about rejection, about being picked last for a team or left out of some social group."

Eisenberger and her colleagues found images of brain activity in people who have experienced social rejection are very similar to those who have experienced physical pain. Physical pain has two elements: the sensory experience and the emotional component, in which your brain decides how bad the pain is, researchers said. That secondary element is similar to social pain, but some research has suggested that severe social rejection – “like being dumped,” they said -- can also be processed in the part of your brain that handles the sensory component of pain.

One study analyzed by Eisenberg and her colleagues even found that people who took Tylenol for three weeks reported less hurt feelings than people who took a placebo – a finding that surprised researchers.
"It follows in a logical way from the argument that the physical and social pain systems overlap, but it's still kind of hard to imagine," she said. "We take Tylenol for physical pain; it's not supposed to work on social pain."

© HealthDay

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Social pain - caused by a breakup or rejection - is virtually the same as physical pain.
Monday, 27 February 2012 12:40 PM
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