If you can die from a broken heart then surely a break-up can make you sick—that’s what level-headed people suspect led to Demi Moore’s hospitalization two days ago. As Demi’s rep said in statement earlier this week:
“Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health.”
While some would rather suggest that Demi’s exhaustion is a result of substance abuse, courtesy of a nitric oxide binge from Whip-its, or an eating disorder, science actually backs up the idea that divorce can make one sick.
A recent review from the University of Arizona found that divorce can raise the risk of early death by as much as 23 percent. The researchers also likened the effects of divorce to other health risks like smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, getting limited exercise, being overweight, and drinking heavily. Although the cause and effect relationship between death and divorce wasn’t conclusive, the correlation isn’t hard to imagine. According to psychotherapist Rachel Sussman:
“When you are processing the ending of a marriage you are overcome with a variety of complex emotions–sorrow, anger, shame, fear.
“Sleep and one’s ability to eat may be impacted by the sorrow and stress, [which in turn] may affect your overall health and cause you to get very run down.”
We’ve all been so stressed or sick that we couldn’t eat—or ate too much. We may have even stayed in bed for a day or two and shut out the rest of the world. Unfortunately Demi is a recovering addict so the potential for her to return to drugs is much higher, but I don’t think people should jump to that conclusion considering the effects the stress of divorce can have on someone. I think most of us would be a little sick if our marriage of seven years was ending and our soon-to-be ex-husband was making a public mockery of our relationship.
Do you think Demi is suffering from a broken heart over her divorce? Has a breakup ever made you sick?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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