• Quote of the Day
    "There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up."
    Bernard Meltzer, posted by HBas

sunset

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This question was asked of Dr Phil on his show yesterday, about Anna Nicole Smith.. He said to answer the question, he said yes, its possible to die of a broken heart.
What do you all think? I agree with Dr Phil, but I would rather not test out that theory..
 

David Baxter

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I try never to agree with Dr. Phil. He long ago got confused about the difference between an entertainer and a therapist...

I don't agree in this case. One does not die of a broken heart.

Of course, if one succumbs to depression and suicidal thinking, or if one stops eating and drinking fluids, or if one consoles oneself with alcohol or street drugs, it's possible that one might die as a result of those conditions or activities.
 

sunset

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Are there any studies about this? I know some people who were married for a long time, and when one spouse dies, the other followed soon after..

Sometimes, I felt like I could die from a broken heart, but maybe I just wanted the pain to stop.
I do see your point Dr B..
 

David Baxter

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I guess I'm arguing that it isn't the broken heart per se but rather giving up or resorting to unhealthy coping strategies.

A broken heart is painful, no doubt about it. But, like a panic attack, it only feels like you're going to die from it.
 

Mari

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H! Who is Dr. Phil? Just kidding but the question does interest me. I recently had a check-up and an EKG and the doctor said my heart is fine so my broken heart is not a physical aliment. If I die I do not think a coronor would put Cause of Death: 'a broken heart' but that is what it feels like. Sometimes when I lie in bed and think about how much I miss my son it does feel like my heart will expolde. If I died right then and there a doctor would find a physical ailment to explain my death but the physical ailment is a direct result of my broken heart so the people close to me would say I died of a broken heart. I know that I should not 'resort to unhealthy coping strategies' but I just find the grief unbearable. The song 'Emotion' by Brenda Lee just started playing on the radio. Very interesting. How can you mend a broken heart?
Mari
 

sunset

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Mari, I dont know your story but it sounds like you lost a son? Whatever the situation is, I am sure it is very painful for you, and I am sorry for that.
How to get over grief is to me, varies from person to person. For me, every loss feels like it is chipping away at me physically, spiritually, and mentally, and something within me dies, and I seem to never fully recover.

I think its important to go through the stages of grief, and work them out any way you can. Sometimes I just needed to hybernate and sleep, and other times I needed to be active and around people. I think listening to what your mind and body wants at that particular time, is what a person should do.

:hug:
 

ThatLady

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I don't think people die of a broken heart, but of the physical problems created by the depression, anxiety, and helplessness/hopelessness that occur after a loss. Grief is a process, and it's possible to get "stuck" anywhere within that process. When one is "stuck" in a phase of grief, it's important to get help from a professional who is trained to deal with grief and grieving. It's possible to get beyond the "stuck" phase and to move on with one's life, but it takes work and people usually need help to get things moving in the right direction.
 

Heather

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I agree with Dr Baxter and thatlady, but can see why one would think that you could die of a broken heart!

Re: Dr Phil, he bugs me a lot and sometimes I watch him and I yell at the TV cause I hate what he has said, lol, I remember very few times I have agreed with him, there has been a couple though!!!
 

Daniel

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BTW, in antiquity, some people thought you could also die by laughing too hard, but such hard laughter is obviously now seen as "the best medicine."
 

Benjamin

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Isn't it possible to lose the will to live and therefore succumb to some kind of illness that you have been fighting. I haven't read much on this, but the person who comes to mind is Johnny Cash. After his wife died, he died just a few months later.
 

Daniel

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Yeah, but the illness would still be the primary cause of death. Also, dying at the age of 71 is obviously very different than dying at the age of 17.
 

Cavi

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My dad died 1 month after my mother but he died because his illness got at its worst but he also gave up fighting...He didn't die of a broken heart per say but he gave up fighting because of a broken heart...
 

sunset

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I think a broken heart can lead to death, as some here have posted.. :(

Sometimes I am amazed that I am still around because my heart has been broken a few times.. and I never thought I would survive it.
 

Techie

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i know this is an old thread but I just stumbled across it...

... I don't know about humans... but other primates have been shown that they can/do die from 'broken hearts'...

I was watching a TV series on chimps... and one of the young chimps mothers died (killed somehow)... the youngster sat there with the mothers body and 'mourned' itself to death... no external causes... the chimp was totally able to care for itself... in so much as it could get food and shelter itself as well as interact with the family network... but the little chimp sat by its mothers body and within about 6 hours it died as well... they just kept the camera on it... it sat there and died too...the camera people checked the body and saw there was no sign of trauma at all... they used this as an example of how chimps are closer to humans than previously thought because of the human-like emotional behaviours they experience.

Scientists have already shown that emotional state can adversely effect the bodies ability to deal with pain and stress (and vise versa as you can deal with pain and stress by meditation etc)... its not totally unheard of for an elderly persons spouse to pass away a short time after the other... So... in my opinion I would think its 'possible' but REALLY REALLY unlikely...
 

sunset

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Hi Techie... Interesting about the chimps. I think a persons state of mind and will to go on plays a huge roll in this. A person can think themselves ill, so I think its possible to die of a broken heart. Not that your heart is phyically ill, but state of mind can bring on illness and of course death, if not treated..
 

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