Killer Relationships: Can a bad relationship make you sick or kill you?

MSNBC reports that a researcher measured the effects that your relationships have on your health. After studying a random sample of women, the researchers found that those who had “attachment insecurity” had lower immune systems, were more susceptible to disease, and had higher instances of skin diseases such as psoriasis. Of course you can’t say that bad relationships alone make you more likely to get sick, but for those that already have problems, bad relationships could worsen your health.

On CBS, medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay notes that previous research suggests close relationships are good for heart health, and there's lots of evidence that emotions can have powerful effects on physical health. Psychological factors are now recognized as contributing to the development of heart disease.

According to the Washington Post, A bad marriage may be bad for your health. Nancy Henry of the University of Utah and her colleagues studied 276 couples who had been married an average of 20 years. The couples filled out questionnaires assessing positive aspects of their marriage, such as mutual support, emotional warmth, friendliness and confiding in each other, as well as negative aspects, such as arguments, feelings of hostility and how often they disagreed over topics such as children, sex, money and in-laws. They were also tested for signs of depression, and went to a clinic to measure their weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and other symptoms of "metabolic syndrome," which increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Both men and women who reported more marital strain were more likely to have signs of depression. But only the women were more likely to have metabolic syndrome symptoms. In fact, the effect of depression from marital strain was about the same as the effect of being sedentary versus moderately active.

Research has indicated that women are more sensitive to the effects of relationship problems than men, and there's good evidence that stress can increase the risk for many of the factors that cause the metabolic syndrome.

Are you or someone you know in a Killer Relationship? What effects has it had on your health?

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Comment by willie mae murdock on August 21, 2009 at 10:10pm
Hi all, I am a true believer of how stress can make sick and abad relationship with some who is a born fool will surely add on to your problem. The person thats causing the stress don't ever feel the empact of te illness that they cause you to go through.
Comment by Lenny on August 21, 2009 at 5:42pm
yeah i think the stress from a bad relationship can make you physically sick
Comment by Janet Allen on August 21, 2009 at 2:39pm
My last serious relationship was 7 years ago. I was so stressed out by this man that I had a mild stroke. I ended up in the ER and the doctor said it was a major case of stress. Something snapped in my head and my right side went numb. And I now have trust issues and I get out when my well-being is threatened.
Comment by Telly Hunt on August 21, 2009 at 7:40am
OH YEAH!,Im in one now been so stressed my stomach has been hurtint for 2 months yeah im going to see the doctor soon
Comment by nikki spool on August 20, 2009 at 9:09pm
No doudt I was in a unhealthy relationship for 14yrs I was sick constantly. Was on all types of medication until I got a divorce. Now I feel and lok more healthier!!!
Comment by Lady"G" on August 20, 2009 at 6:54pm
I think so, get with the wrong person and have to deal with all kinds of crap that you don't need to deal with in your life, will stress the hell out of you. Been there done that. Not healthy at all.
Comment by mysterious on August 20, 2009 at 5:15pm
Yes, a bad relationship can make you sick. When we first got married, It started off sweet and innocent. He loved being together, loved do the small things that made me smile as I did for him. After our son was born not our daughter, he became jealous. My husband had my undivided attention even when he didn't deserve it, my children were fabulous. God was definitely watching over them. That love I had turned to dislike then it turned to hate over the next year which in turn caused me to gain over 60 pounds. He would do things to try and cause me to lose my job, take the distributor cap off my car so it wouldn't start, take my kids from daycare early without me knowing it especially since he NEVER picked them up from daycare before. Needless to say, I never told a soul, never complained, never threatened to leave. So, I suffered in silence which was the worst thing that I could ever do. He told me that no man would love me and two children. But I overcame, divorced him, lost 60 gained and an additional 10 pounds=70 pounds for me, cut my hair short as though I was starting all over (looking like Halle Berry). Coca cola bottle shape, landed several job offers, caught all the attention and never looked back. My success is my badge to all, you can recoup. My point is, it should have never got to that point but sometimes we hope that love will prevail because that is the way we are designed.
Comment by deborah/kansascity on August 20, 2009 at 4:59pm
Yes, a bad relationship makes you depressed. Depression makes you sick. After 11 years in a very depressing relationship, my own mother, told me to get out or die. She said, I was no longer the happy, fun loving, person she knew and could see my health deteriorating before her eyes. I had already had to have a major surgery, which I think was mostly stress related. Now I am fine and people tell me I look younger than my age.
Comment by Tomika Tatum on August 20, 2009 at 3:58pm
This meassage is for Kathryne, I have been where you are. I just moved into my own apartment yesterday because of the same situation. I was with a man that I moved from another state to be with and for the first 5 years he was great. Then all of a sudden he started acting like he could care less about me and what I needed out of this relationship. I raised his son for 7 years without so much as a thank you from him or his sorry baby momma. I started getting sick all the time and loosing my hair and that was a no no. When the doctor told me it was stress related I knew it was time to roll out. I had to think of the effect my bad relationship was having on my children so I started making plans to move out. Now i am in a city where I don't hardly know anyone and do not have any family because of a man. NEVER AGAIN. You will get tired and when you get tired you will leave. Good Luck
Comment by Ms. Reese on August 20, 2009 at 12:00pm
I feel it can lead to bad health or even in a worse case, kill you. I feel if you stay in a bad relationship, you become unhappy and start resenting the other person, sometimes depression even sets in...basically the stress of it all sometimes takes a toll and your health (physical or mental) is the price you pay for staying.


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