Lovesickness: What it is and How to Overcome It?

We’ve all experienced the thrill and excitement of being in love. However, not every relationship works out the way we hope.

When love ends, it can leave us feeling heartbroken and emotionally exhausted. What many people describe as “heartbreak” is scientifically known as lovesickness.

In this article, we’ll explore what lovesickness is, common symptoms, and proven ways to overcome it and move on with your life.

Read Also: Love vs. In Love: What Makes them so Different and Yet so Similar?

What is Lovesickness?

Lovesickness: What it is and How to Overcome It?

Lovesickness refers to the intense and painful feelings experienced after a romantic relationship ends through rejection, breakup, or loss of a loved one.

It stems from the effects of withdrawal from romantic love and attachment. Lovesickness activates the same reward circuits in the brain that addiction does.

The psychological and physical distress associated with it are very real.

Some key things to know about lovesickness:

  • It is a normal response to loss of attachment and signals the brain and body are adjusting to separation.
  • Symptoms usually peak 1-3 months after a breakup but can last up to 2 years if left unresolved.
  • It shares similar traits with grief as both involve psychological and physical mourning of a loss.
  • While painful, it serves the evolutionary purpose of motivating us to maintain close relationships crucial for survival and reproduction.

Now that we understand what lovesickness is, let’s explore some of the common symptoms people experience.

Common Symptoms of Lovesickness

Signs you are lovesick include:

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Intrusive thoughts about ex-partner – They keep popping into your head when you don’t want them to.
  • Difficulty concentrating – Hard to focus on tasks, work, or daily activities.
  • Memory problems – Frequently reminiscing and remembering past events.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Sadness and depression – Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, lack of motivation.
  • Anxiety and worry – Fears about being alone, ex finding someone new, inability to trust again.
  • Mood swings – Alternating between sadness, anger, and frustration.
  • Irritability and restlessness – Short temper, feeling on edge.

Physical Symptoms

  • Changes in appetite – Either eating more or less than usual.
  • Sleep problems – Trouble falling/staying asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Fatigue and low energy – Feeling tired all the time without cause.
  • Aches and pains – Stomach issues, headaches, and body aches without a medical reason.

Of course, not everyone experiences all these symptoms. The intensity and duration depend on individual biology and the relationship history.

With time and effort, these lovesickness symptoms can be managed and ultimately fade away.

How Long Does Lovesickness Last?

Most studies show the acute phase with intense distress peaks at 6-8 weeks and start to gradually improve after 3-4 months.

Residual symptoms may linger up to 2 years in some cases if left unresolved. The duration depends on various factors like relationship length, how it ended, support network, and coping strategies used.

Is Lovesickness an Illness or a Normal Process?

Lovesickness in itself is not a clinical illness or disorder. It is considered a normal psychological and physiological response to the loss of an attachment figure.

Only if the symptoms significantly interfere with daily life for an extended period or require clinical intervention, would it be classified as a disorder like Major Depressive Disorder.

Can You Get Lovesick Over Someone You Weren’t in a Relationship With?

Yes, it’s possible to experience lovesickness even if the feelings were unrequited or the person was not an official partner.

Any profound attachment, even a strong crush or infatuation, can trigger grief and mourning when it ends through rejection or disappearance from one’s life.

However, the symptoms may not be as severe as losing an established romantic relationship.

Read Also: 30 Practical Ways to Make Someone Fall in Love with You

Is There a Difference Between Heartbreak and Lovesickness?

Heartbreak and lovesickness describe similar emotional experiences but with nuanced differences.

Heartbreak generally refers to the initial acute pain of a breakup fueled by emotions like sadness, anger, and regret.

Lovesickness encompasses heartbreak but also the subsequent psychological and physical aftermath as the brain and body adjust to life without the attachment figure.


How Do I Know if What I’m Feeling Is Normal Lovesickness or a Problem?

There are a few signs that indicate lovesickness has crossed over to an unhealthy territory:

  • Symptoms for over 6 months without improvement.
  • Severe impact on the ability to do work, studies, and self-care.
  • Uncontrolled outbursts, delusional thoughts, suicidal ideation.
  • Ruminating thoughts prevent moving forward in life.
  • Using dangerous coping mechanisms like substance abuse.

If this is the case, seeking help from a mental health professional is advised. They can help determine if clinical intervention is needed.

Why Do I Still Have Feelings for My Ex When I Know We Shouldn’t Be Together?

When a relationship ends, the attachment system in the brain takes time switching off feelings of love.

Coping strategies like immediate no contact can help disrupt these old neural pathways faster.

Feeling perplexed about residual feelings is normal and doesn’t mean you want the person back necessarily.

It shows your brain processing the loss. Understanding this can provide relief.

What Are Healthy Coping Strategies for Dealing With Lovesickness?

Some research-backed coping strategies that can aid recovery from lovesickness include:

  • Spending time with supportive friends and family,
  • Engaging in hobbies,
  • Exercising,
  • Journalling emotions,
  • Practicing mindfulness or meditation,
  • Focusing on self-care,
  • Setting goals for self-improvement,
  • Allowing yourself to grieve via crying or music,
  • Avoiding contact with the ex, and
  • Seeking counseling if needed.

Unhealthy coping like substance use or rebound relationships often backfire so it’s best to rely on positive outlets.

Read Also: Understanding Unconditional Love

Final Thought

Lovesickness describes the intense psychological and physical distress experienced after a romantic relationship ends.

It is a normal part of processing attachment loss and signals the brain’s adjustment.

While the pain feels unbearable initially, most people start showing improvements within a few months as old neural pathways fade with time and new ones form.

There are effective strategies one can employ to accelerate recovery from lovesickness faster.

Relying on social support, keeping busy through hobbies, focusing on self-care, avoiding contact with the ex, and using healthy outlets to experience emotions help minimize symptoms.

Connecting with a counselor or support group is also beneficial for some. If lovesickness transitions into a mood disorder, clinical help must be sought immediately.

With patience and consistent effort, one can overcome lovesickness and re-open their heart to love again.

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