A 30-year-old American influencer, Lyss Boss, tells on her TikTok account how she fell ill for months, due to the toxic relationship she was in. Can the body physically make us feel the stress of a toxic relationship? Answers from Audrey Brun, psychologist.
Can our bodies physically make us feel like we’re in a toxic relationship? Lyss Boss, an American influencer, is convinced of this. On the account of her podcast dedicated to her relational experiences, she recounts in video the symptoms caused by the toxic relationship with her ex-companion. A TikTok video quickly went viral and viewed over 2.7 million times.
“I felt like I was having a heart attack”
In a relationship with the one she thought was the man of her life, Lyss Boss gradually falls ill. “I had a stomach ache every day, constant anxiety for no reason, bloated like crazy, and had to have an EKG for my heart (because) I was so stressed. I felt like I was having a heart attack” says the young woman.
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She explains that she had been dating this man for a long time, but her symptoms were only getting worse over time, to the point of getting infections on a regular basis. After separating, she is now much better and her symptoms have disappeared.
Comments that approve of the video
Under the video, many people react by explaining that they have experienced the same thing. “This happened to me!! Nobody believed me… It was something” comments a user. “Panic attacks, digestive problems, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, back pain… It all went away when we got divorced!” says another woman.
Adrenal fatigue caused by too much stress?
Can the stress of a toxic relationship trigger physical symptoms? Cortisol, the stress hormone, produced continuously by the adrenal glands, is it the cause of this type of situation? A hypothesis validated by Dr. Michaël Lam, specialist in nutrition and anti-aging medicine, at the Daily Mail: “Every stressful interaction in your toxic relationships will trigger cortisol production and your adrenal glands will become exhausted after a while. This is how you end up getting Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, even though you lead an otherwise healthy lifestyle.“.
According to him, this exhaustion of the adrenal glands leads to a whole series of symptoms, such as:
- Weight gain;
- Sleep problems;
- Brain fog;
- Mild depression;
- Dry skin;
- Hair loss;
- A part of slibido;
- Immune fragility;
- Cravings for salt and sugar;
- Or heart palpitations.
However, there is no evidence to support the hypothesis of Dr. Michael Lam, who has developed a clinic dedicated to this so-called disorder. Indeed, no study has established an effect of stress on the adrenal glands. The symptoms evoked can be linked to other illnesses: sleep disorders, depression, thyroid problems… or more certainly in this case, stress-related somatization about which Audrey Brun, psychologist, tells us.
Somatization caused by intense stress
Asked about the question, the psychologist Audrey Brun confirms this observation. “This is what Freud described as hysterical conversion. It is the conversion of his psychological discomfort into a physical symptom. It’s typically when we say, for example, that we have back pain, because in reality, we’re full of it!”.
Does this somatization affect specific profiles? According to Audrey Brun: “These people who somatize their psychological evil are often subjected to intense stress, so much so that the brain reacts to put a stop. These patients are usually gripped by stress and can no longer set limits, so the brain reacts for them, in a way.
And when that stress comes from a toxic relationship, our expert doesn’t see much of a solution: “In the context of a toxic relationship, the solution is to end it, because the person is no longer able to take the necessary distance to find themselves“