Navigation Links
Romantic Rejection May Hurt Just Like Physical Pain
Date:3/29/2011

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Memories of devastating heartbreaks appear to trigger activity in the brain that's similar to when people suffer physical pain, new research suggests.

"This tells us how serious rejection can be sometimes," said study author Edward E. Smith, director of cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University. "When people are saying 'I really feel in pain about this breakup,' you don't want to trivialize it and dismiss it by saying 'It's all in your mind.'"

The finding could lead to more than a better understanding of the link between emotional and physical pain, Smith said. "Our ultimate goal is to see what kind of therapeutic approach might be useful in relieving the pain of rejection."

Previous research has shown a link between what Smith calls "socially induced pain" -- the kind you get from dealing with other people -- and physical pain. For the new study, Smith and colleagues looked at rejection specifically.

"From everyday experience, rejection seems to be one of the most painful things we experience," Smith said. "It seems the feelings of rejection can be sustained even longer than being angry."

But where do you find rejected people? In New York City, of course, where hundreds or even thousands of relationships must fall apart every day. The researchers advertised online and in newspapers in search of people whose romantic partners had broken up with them. In all cases, they hadn't wanted the breakups to happen.

Forty people, all of whom felt "intensely rejected," ultimately took part in the study. As the researchers scanned their brains, the participants were told to look at photos, including photos of their friends (they were directed to think positive thoughts about them), and photos of their exes (they were directed to think about their breakup).

The participants also underwent brain scans as they felt pain on their forearms similar to the feeling of holding a hot cup of coffee.

The findings appear in this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Several of the same areas of the brain became active when the participants felt either physical pain or emotional pain. In fact, the two types of pain seem to share more regions of the brain than previously thought, Smith noted.

What about other kinds of emotional pain? Do they have the same effect on the brain? Maybe not. Smith said rejection appears to be in a class by itself in terms of its similarity to physical pain.

Future research could examine how emotional pain due to rejection affects how people feel physical pain, said Robert C. Coghill, an associate professor in the department of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Would rejected people feel more pain than other people? And what about after they get reminded about their rejections by looking at pictures?

For now, one thing is clear: brain scan or no brain scan, rejection hurts.

More information

Learn more about pain from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Edward E. Smith, Ph.D., director, cognitive neuroscience, Columbia University, New York City; Robert C. Coghill, Ph.D., associate professor, department of neurobiology and anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; March 28-April 1, 2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Getting to the scientific heart of what makes romantic relationships succeed or fail
2. Romantic Love: Natures Painkiller?
3. Romantic partner may play role in reducing vulvovaginal pain
4. Sex between adolescents in romantic relationships is often harmless to their academics
5. Study links romantic rejection with reward and addiction centers in the brain
6. Its the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships
7. Study points out risks of nonromantic sexual relationships
8. Gift-Giving, for Many Men, Means Avoiding Rejection
9. UCLA team uncovers mechanism behind organ transplant rejection
10. Vitamin D deficiency linked to lung transplant rejection
11. Gene pattern may identify kidney transplant recipients who dont need lifelong anti-rejection drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Romantic Rejection May Hurt Just Like Physical Pain
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method ... —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida attorneys are ... for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers practicing within ... of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark D. Bloom, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... People ... part in Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and ... an award to be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. ... years that have already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel ... with significant unmet needs, today announced the closing ... 6,400,000 shares of common stock, at the public ... the shares in the offering were offered by ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 VolitionRx ... of Dr. Edward Futcher to the ... effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher was also appointed ... Governance Committees.  As a non-executive member of the ... and strategic counsel to VolitionRx in connection with ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: