In general, psychotherapist Annette Nuñez, MS, Ph.D., mbg tells me that heartbreak occurs when your romantic feelings for someone completely take over your body and mind. From obsessive thoughts, to anxiety, to loss of appetite, heartbreak can be all-encompassing.

Just as heartbreak can literally disrupt your heart’s health (aka “broken heart syndrome”), heartbreak also has physical effects. According to the above research, there is general agreement about heartbreak symptoms across cultures, including fever, agitation, loss of appetite, headache, rapid breathing, and palpitations.

Nuñez adds that it is important to note that being in love is not the same as being genuinely in love. “There’s a clear distinction because when you really love someone, you’re not obsessed with them,” she says, noting that when someone is in love, they often see the object of their affection through rose-colored glasses.

In this way, heartbreak is similar to limerence, or an intense crush. As couples therapist Silva Depanian, LMFT, previously explained to mbg, “Many people don’t really recognize the existence of limerence and simply view someone who experiences it as a ‘hopeless romantic’ or ‘passionate in love.’ But limerence and love are not the same thing.” If anything, limerence can be considered the gold of the fool’s love.’

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