Medically examined byKatelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by our editorial team
Last updated on 08/14/2022
You can't sugarcoat it - breakups suck. Whether you're the one who ends things or your former partner, they can be tough on everyone.
And while some sadness is to be expected, one thing you might not expect is fear. But separation anxiety is one thing, and it can be just as bad as the sadness.
Luckily, there are things you can do to ease this anxiety. You just need to have a few handy tips and tricks up your sleeve.
what is fear
Before diving into the anxiety caused by a breakup, it helps to have some basic information about anxiety in general. Occasional nervousness is perfectly normal — you know, the kind you feel before you ride a roller coaster or before you give a presentation at work. But if your anxiety feels like it's present fairly often, it might beanxiety disorder.
According to experts, there arefive different types of anxiety disorders. They are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):This is the most common anxiety disorder. It can be diagnosed if you have problemsAdministrationYour anxiety more often than not for six or more months.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):recurring thoughts andcompulsive behaviors– such as washing hands repeatedly or checking locks – are signs of this disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):Traumatic events such as military combat, attacks, or surviving a natural disaster can lead to itPTSD.
Social Anxiety Disorder:This is also calledsocial phobia. If you find yourself overwhelmed in social situations or need to speak in front of large groups, you may be dealing with social anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder:symptoms ofpanic disorderinclude panic attacks, intense anxiety and palpitations.
The way these anxiety disorders manifest in each individual is different and everyoneAnxiety disorder has some unique symptoms. However, there are also some common symptoms including irritability, feelings of restlessness, nightmares, excessive worrying, difficulty staying calm, trouble sleeping, heart palpitations and more.
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What are the causes of separation anxiety?
Big life events can trigger anxiety, and a breakup could certainly fall into that category. Uncertainty and anticipation are also major factors in fear of driving.
Research has found this insecurity about itfuture eventscan cause anxiety. One of the reasons this is the case is that uncertainty makes it difficult to prepare for the future.
So how does that play out in a breakup? Suppose you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life (or at least the foreseeable future) with someone. Maybe you had made plans in your head about how that could look like and what you would do together. When this is no longer the case, it can make you uncertain and anxious about what the future may hold.
Others2010 studylooked at married women and found that some people's partners eased their anxiety. If you've been in a relationship with someone who eased your anxiety and suddenly you're no longer in that relationship, it's possible that your anxiety flares up.
Coping strategies for post-breakup anxiety
If you've recently gone through a breakup and you're feeling a lot of anxiety, it can drastically affect your daily life. But the good news is that you definitely don't have to live like this.
You definitely have options when it comes to treatment - here are some of the things to try.
Go to therapy
talk therapycan help with a variety of mental health issues — including anxiety. Although there are a number of forms of therapycognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) is one of the most common.
During CBT, you'll talk to a psychiatrist to identify behaviors that increase your anxiety and work to find ways to do sochangenegative thought patterns and behaviors.
Othershelpful thing about therapyis that you can talk about separation stress and what you want to look for in future relationships.
Another way to deal with anxiety isdrug. Anti-anxiety medications are often used in conjunction with therapy.
You will need to be prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Usual medicationscontainselectiveSerotonin Reuptake Inhibitors(HowCitalopram), beta-blockers and benzodiazepines. Taking these medications could help with your anxiety symptoms.
your offersonline consultationsso you can talk to a psychologist about whether medication is right for you.
Many say that sleep is the cornerstone of both emotional and physical healthResearchshows that poor sleep quality can increase anxiety.
You should ideally getSeven hoursor more sleep each night. The following tips can help you with thissleep better:
Skip caffeine before bed
Exercise at some point during the day
Stick to a routine, wake up and go to sleep at about the same time each day
Watch what you eat
Another tactic is to focus on consuming abalanced nutrition, as some think it may help with anxiety. Focus on eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins (chicken and fish).
Another tip: Be sparing with simple carbohydrates (like pasta). These can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly and then drop again, leading to nervousness.
With that in mind, be careful with caffeine consumption. Have lots of caffeinemay deteriorateAngst.
Another thing to know is that alcohol and cigarettes canworsen anxiety.
What does a healthy diet include? A practice! Get yoursheart rate upbecause even five minutes can have benefits. Exercise regularly? It canreduce anxiety.
If you want something high-intensity, consider a spinning class or a bootcamp-style sweat session. Do you prefer something more reserved? A walk through the park can also help.
It's time to be more mindful! AStudy from 2014suggests that 20 minutes frommindful meditationcan reduce general brain activity. Sounds scary, but that's actually a good thing — and canhelp control anxiety.
John Hopkinsreviewed 47 randomized clinical trials and found thatMeditationcan help people deal with anxiety and stress.
There are many boutique studios that offer meditation classes, but you can also download free apps that offer guided sessions.
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Dealing with post-breakup anxiety
When a romantic relationship comes to an end, it can be a stressful event and there can be many uncomfortable feelings to deal with, from feelings of rejection to emotional pain. Can anything else happen? post-breakup anxiety.
If you're already dealing with an anxiety disorder like GAD or panic disorder, breaking up could make things worse.
Looking at mental health services (like therapy) is one way to deal with relationship breakdowns. Finally, it's never a bad idea to talk to someone about mental health issues and emotional turmoil.
If you are going through a challenging time or are struggling with anxiety attacks, you should make an appointmentOnline consultation with a doctorReview options that might help with your mental health issues.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing policies to ensure our content is accurate and up to date. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.
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- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved fromhttps://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad
- anxiety disorders. National Institute for Mental Health. Retrieved from
- Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved fromhttps://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9536-anxiety-disorders#symptoms-and-causes
- Grupe, D., Nitschke, J., (2013). Uncertainty and anticipation in fear. Nat Rev. Neurosci. Retrieved fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276319/#:~:text=Uncertainty%20about%20a%20possible%20future,and%20also%20results%20in%20Angst.
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- What is cognitive behavioral therapy? American Psychological Association. Retrieved fromhttps://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral
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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for, and should never be relied on, professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standardsHere.