Breakups can cause acne, stomach aches, chest pain and physical heart problems
(Picture: Ella Byworth for

Breaking up with people sucks.

There you are, reduced to a weepy red mess with your future plans in tatters and a phone full of pictures that you now need to either delete or keep and risk falling apart every time you open your pics app.

But it turns out that breaking up comes with even more risks than simply feeling low for a while.

We already know that ‘broken heart syndrome’ exists. According to Mayo Clinic, its symptoms include chest pains, shortness of breath and enlarging of the heart.

And curtailing romantic attachments can also have other detrimental physical effects.

Researchers at Wake Forest University have published a study confirming that breakups can cause acne, even in people who don’t have acne-prone skin.

It’s also thought to cause stomach cramps and sore muscles.

In fact, psychologist Guy Winch goes so far to say that breakups can mirror withdrawal-like symptoms and that it’s important to acknowledge the seriousness of our emotions at the time.

Breakups can cause acne, stomach aches, chest pain and physical heart problems

‘Studies (have) found that heartbreak activates the same mechanisms in the brain that get activated when addicts are withdrawing from substances like cocaine and opioids,’ he writes in Psychology Today.

‘These powerful withdrawal symptoms (from the loss of love) impact our ability to think, focus, and function in the broadest terms. We would never expect an addict in the midst of withdrawal to be able to function in their job or personal life because we understand they are in a temporarily abnormal mental state.

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‘We need to think of heartbreak in the same terms and modify our expectations of ourselves and others accordingly.’

So if you do find yourself heartbroken and don’t feel up to a full day in the office, it might be worth remembering that you’re actually going through something physical as well as mental.

Give yourself a proper break – it’s not weak to ask for time to recover.

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