Most of my Houston marriage counselor clients are concerned with getting relationship help that will keep their marriage going and allow them to rediscover happiness with their partner, but just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean that our feelings about it do.

Sometimes we can feel the loss of a person or a relationship so strongly that it literally breaks our heart. Doctors call this condition Broken Heart Syndrome, and it involves the adrenal gland sending so many hormones to the heart that it actually shuts down and stops working.

Houston Marriage Counselor: Broken Heart Syndrome

Unlike with a heart attack, there’s nothing blocking the pathway to the heart. The muscle itself simply becomes “dysfunctional” and won’t work like it should. In essence, the heart muscle breaks.

Technically, there are a lot of emotions that can cause Broken Heart Syndrome, and it doesn’t have to be tied to grief or the end of a relationship. Experts say that it is just as likely for someone dealing with extreme anxiety, fear, or even surprise to trigger the issue. What it does mean, though, is that strong emotions are felt at the cellular level of our bodies and can cause extreme physical problems.

Watch for Signs of Broken Heart Syndrome, Says Houston Marriage Counselor

Though BHS can occur at any time, it’s most common about a week after a major stressor such as the death of a spouse or the end of a relationship. Help your loved one by keeping an eye out for signs that they may be on the verge of breaking their heart, such as:

  • Not eating
  • Not sleeping
  • Neglecting or being haphazard with medications
  • Disengaging from friends and life
  • Increased stress

You can combat these things by doing your best to support your loved one and make sure they get the care they need. Check on them regularly, bring meals, remind them of their strength, and above all just be willing to listen to them. And if you feel like they’re not looking well, making them see the doctor could save their life.

The important thing is not to give up. If they won’t talk to you, perhaps they’ll be more willing to speak with a professional therapist. And don’t underestimate the toll this is taking on you, either. For more advice and help getting both of you through this, talk to the Houston marriage counselor.