Grief: What You Should Know about Broken Heart Syndrome

“How can you mend a broken heart?” The Brothers Gibb sang this song several decades ago. However, the message of this song still resonates with humanity. Its poignant lyrics struck a chord with anyone who grieves.

One can argue by throwing in another cliché, “time heals all wounds.” Whether this saying is true or not, therapists would say that the stress of undergoing such trauma can result in physical ailments.

If a person is undergoing grief counseling, they will not manifest obvious symptoms. Only when their therapists recommend a rigorous physical exam will they determine that they have broken heart syndrome.


This ailment is usually diagnosed after a person has undergone a cardiac stress test. The test results show that the heart is not pumping enough blood to the body.

It involves physical and psychological examinations. The therapist will forward his recommendation to a medical doctor who will ask the patient to cooperate in the full examination.

In an attempt to explain the symptoms of this syndrome, science says that it is the result of a surge of stress hormones, specifically adrenaline and noradrenaline. The increased output of these hormones can lead to an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. The ventricles contract too quickly.

Consequently, there is a sudden drop in blood pressure. The heartaches as it is unable to pump sufficient blood throughout the body.


Grief counseling and medical care are needed for a patient to overcome this sickness. Sufferers of broken heart syndrome can only recover if the underlying problem is resolved. In the meantime, the patient must avoid stress triggers or anything that may cause a further release of stress hormones.

Doctors may prescribe beta-blockers to relieve the patient’s increased heart rate and blood pressure. They may also recommend sodium nitrate to dilate the blood vessels. In the case of a patient who needs his heart to be monitored, he may have to wear a heart monitor.

The patient must follow the doctor’s orders to the letter. The patient should adhere to the doctor’s advice and care for himself through physical, emotional, and mental recovery.

Surgery and Other Procedures

Surgery is the last resort to treat broken heart syndrome. It is a surgical procedure that repairs the heart, but this is only done in the most severe cases. Suppose a person has undergone this surgery and is still experiencing symptoms. In that case, the doctors will develop a different treatment plan to address his medical concerns.

There are other cases where the symptoms are only temporary. They will gradually recede over time as the body recovers from the trauma that caused the syndrome.

Some patients are deemed to need this procedure. Those who have had a heart attack can already be candidates for surgery. Those who show symptoms of myocardial ischemia or congestive heart failure are usually given a surgical procedure to help them recover. This procedure is generally done through coronary bypass surgery, as it is called.


Broken heart syndrome can be a severe ailment. A person must be aware of it and know the symptoms, including weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and palpitations, among others. The patient must seek medical care as soon as he experiences these symptoms.

If you recently experienced the loss of someone, you can reach out to Therapy24x7 for support. We offer grief counseling to NYC residents. Book an appointment now!

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