We all have them, and have had them. Romances are the hardest, but the loss of a friendship is difficult too.
From How to mend a broken heart. (hat tip to Winds of Change):
In 2005, Aron teamed up with some neurologists and with Helen Fisher, the biologicalanthropologist who devised the questionnaire used to match people on Chemistry.com, a division of Match.com, to conduct a series of experiments. The first experiment placed happily-inlove people in an fMRI scanner to take photos of their brains. They found neural activation in areas of the brain linked with reward, excitement, and euphoria. Aron says this is likely indicative of early-stage love. Over time, the activation in this reward area can diminish. The car runs out of gas.
The processes that keep people together take place elsewhere in the brain. It’s a trait we share with only a few other animals, like the prairie vole.
We think of heartbreak as metaphoric, but the body actually does respond to emotional trauma, releasing a flood of stress chemicals like adrenaline that, in some cases, can overwhelm even an otherwise healthy person and cause his or her heart to spasm. Broken heart syndrome, as it’s colloquially known, has been tracked at the nation’s leading heart clinics since 2005, but because its symptoms look so similar to those of a heart attack, it is often misdiagnosed, says Ilan Wittstein, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute and the lead author of a New England Journal of Medicine article first describing the syndrome.