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The Thrill of Love Can Be a Killer

With Valentine's Day a week away, a report caught my eye that found some health experts believe "lovesickness" can be deadly and should be taken more seriously. In fact, one scientist says so many people are "destabilized by falling in love" or suffer because their feelings are unrequited which could lead to suicide.

A clinical psychologist agreed that "People can die from a broken heart." The way one feels love for another can sometimes lead to an extreme case of physical exhaustion that may drive some to take their own lives, experts said. In fact, before the 18th century, "lovesickness" had been accepted as a natural state of mind for thousands of years.

I wholeheartedly agree with these concerns and wrote about some of them last year. In one such study, ending a relationship had a negative effect on mental health, and was particularly hard on women. Also, this kind of stress may be even worse for the physical body than stress from non-emotional events, even though they evoke the same types of responses.

In another study, female heart patients facing severe stress from marriage difficulties were found to have three times the risk of heart attack as peers without such stresses, although the pressure women felt from work-related issues did not have the same effect.

Folks, stress is a key factor in all illnesses -- lovesickness included -- because it plays a major role in the health of nearly every patient I see. In addition, stress can lead to negative effects on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But it's virtually impossible to eliminate it from your life either. And, if you don't learn how to deal with it in a healthy way, a new study shows your brain can "rewire itself," altering its connections in such a way so it affects the way the brain functions.

So what can you do about it?

I believe you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body's important systems. The key is not the stress itself but your body's ability to tolerate it. I've found energy psychology tools, like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be very useful to battle the dual effects of stress and depression. I strongly urge you to review my free online manual to learn how to use this effective tool.

BBC News February 6, 2005

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