Love Island winner on the Kem-istry of heartbreak
Heartbreak can hit you like a tonne of bricks. But why does heartbreak, a seemingly emotional matter, feel so physically painful?
Love Island’s Kem Cetinay can tell you!
As Kem explains, two areas of the brain – the anterior insula and the dorsal anterior cingulated cortex – control not only physical pain, but emotional pain too. When you’re heartbroken or rejected, your brain can’t tell the difference between that and, say, a punch in the gut. Which is why being broken up with feels like… well, a punch in the gut.
Hormones, the pesky things responsible for your reactions to love, also have a part to play in heartbreak. The hypothalamus releases the happy hormone dopamine when we do things that feel good to us, such as spending time with the person we love. Increased dopamine levels can lead to giddiness, reduced appetite and insomnia - all feelings you’ll recognise when newly in love.
The bad news though, is that when your heart is broken, your dopamine levels go through the floor. This can explain the whole tub of ice cream late at night and struggling to sleep.
With the relationship now over, a big part of your dopamine supply is now cut off, which leads to cravings. The lack of dopamine could also potentially explain the need for chocolate at times like this - you’re just looking for your next boost. The good news is these cravings will eventually start to fade and you will in time feel happier. Until you get ‘pied off’ again.