Romeo and Juliet are the most legendary lovers in literary history. The synopsis of two people falling in love, then torn apart, is a common love story told worldwide. The term, “star crossed lovers,” forecasts the future of a relationship being doomed from the beginning. The ending, with Romeo's overwhelming grief and self-destruction from the loss of his relationship is tragic. The romantic element is highlighted, to pull at the heart strings of readers or viewers. Romeo's love for Juliet was so great that he refused to live without her.
The feelings that arise from a loss of a relationship can be emotionally taxing for a lot of people. Pieces of you seem to be missing that your daily activities are meaningless. The number of personal stories about heartbreak would be in the trillions. Depression, grief, low self-esteem and sometimes anger are common after a relationship breakup for some people. This often leads to unintentional bad habits like substance abuse. For example rehab centers, California based, receive patients that happened to fall into drugs, and the rock n' roll culture.
But many patients found themselves in different situations.
The stories are plentiful...
“Daniel Scott has crying spells whenever a memory of his ex-girlfriend surfaces. She wanted to end their long-time relationship. They were high school sweethearts. He was going to propose to her while on their vacation in Paris, France. Daniel says he was taken by complete surprise of her departure. Confusion, loss and loneliness plague him daily. He feel lost and aimless without her. Out of desperation, Daniel decided to try to lift his mood with crack cocaine offered by a friend.”
“Susan Martinez had a hard time getting up in the morning for 11 months after her fiance called off the wedding. The sudden loss of her best friend was hard to accept. After the passing of her parents, he was the only family she had left. Wine become a comfort blanket. But one glass per day became 10 glasses per day. Morning, afternoon and night, Susan had to have a drink. And she couldn't stop.”
“Randy Moore sat on the couch all weekend, eating his heart out, His wife filed for divorce 5 years ago. And he continues to heal his wounds by overeating. When food wasn't enough, he turned to prescription drugs to mask the pain. His friend gave him a few pills to take the edge off. Randy had no medical need for Oxycontin. He had no knowledge of the drug's purpose or side effects. But he liked the way he felt when he took it, because it helped him to forget his sadness.”
It's normal to experience emotional pain and loss when a person you love is no longer by your side. But happens when these feelings last for a long period of time? Is a person's life destined to remain in ruins because of heartbreak? What is the explanation, if a person makes a quick drastic decision within a matter of seconds, like Romeo did? Are more rehab centers, in California, Florida, or wherever else,having an increasing amount of patients that have stories like Daniel, Susan or Randy? Is love the worst drug of all?
The world of psychology is taking a serious view at heartbreak. Men's Health Magazine published an extensive article about the science behind heartbreak. Their article interviewed neuroscientist Todd Ahern, Ph.D, and he explains what happens when prairie vole mates separate. He believes in the hypothesis that the males in particular have a sharp increase of stress hormones, and a decrease of stress relieving hormones. These separation effects can ultimately cause depression. Can the same be said about humans? Men's Health also cited a study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The study found that 40 percent of the participants had clinical depression after a romantic rejection that happened two months prior to the study. Some of the 40 percent had severe depression.
Depression is a serious medical condition. Yet, many people are not aware that they suffer from depression. This will sometimes lead to a form of self-medication, by using drugs and alcohol. It is not uncommon for a person to suffer from both an addiction and mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that the presence of both a mental illness and addiction is termed dual diagnosis. According to statistics, approximately a third of all excessive alcohol drinkers suffer from a mental illness. And that percentage is even higher for those that abuse drugs.
California Department of Public Health reports that their state's prescription opioid related death are higher than the nation's average. And in the year 2014, prescription opioids were responsible for more than 14,000 premature deaths. All rehab centers, California and nationwide, are concerned about the increasing lure of misusing prescription drugs. Heartbreak seems like an unusual signpost on the path to addiction, but it can actually ignite forms of mental health conditions such as severe depression. If not monitored, severe depression is capable of spiraling into addiction.