After facing traumatic events, you may find that your mind and body react strongly. If the situation is overwhelming and you’re unable to cope, your mind may simply shut down and your body may freeze or even go into a state of overstimulation—basically you go into emotional shock.
Emotional Shock Symptoms
Every individual responds to trauma differently, and they will also display signs of emotional shock in different ways. But here are a few of the most common symptoms of emotional shock:
- Racing or weak pulse
- Low blood pressure
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Inability to form words or the inability to make coherent statements.
- Inability to focus
- A feeling of emotional numbness
Sudden shifts in your mood could also be a sign of emotional shock. Unfortunately, it’s not something that you just get over. After experiencing trauma, emotional shock can take hold of you and remain for months or even years. But if you sustain this state of emotional shock for a long time, it can develop into deeper complications to such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which can have huge impacts on your daily life.
Causes of Emotional Shock
Any life changing event can cause emotional shock, including physical and psychological trauma. Losing your home, getting fired from a job, losing a loved one, or receiving devastating news about your health can all cause you to go into shock. Multiple traumas can pile up on your psyche causing a build up that eventually puts you into a state of emotional shock. But no matter how big (or small) the triggering event, emotional shock happens when your coping skills simply aren’t enough to help you face and deal with the life changing event.
Types of Emotional Shock
As mentioned earlier, each person responds to emotional shock in different ways, but they also respond to a different degree. Let’s take a closer look at the different levels of emotional shock:
Mild Shock: You may receive some form of bad news and for a few moments or even hours experience some of the symptoms of shock. With this form of mild shock, you may quickly recover and continue on with your life with very little or no long lasting side effects.
Severe Shock: You may experience a traumatic event such as an assault and the emotional shock symptoms displayed are more in number and more intense to a level that disrupts your life. Your may faint, vomit, lose consciousness and need to be hospitalized. Severe shock could last a few hours or even days. You may even need therapy to recover from severe shock.
PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder happens when your experience with trauma or emotional shock is prolonged and far exceeds your ability to cope. With PTSD you may be so emotionally impacted by trauma that you avoid certain places and people associated with the traumatic event for fear of triggering a strong emotional reaction.
Treating Emotional Shock
Psychological therapy and/or medication can help treat emotional shock. After experiencing a traumatic event, you can consider anti-anxiety or mood-stabilizing medications to help you function in your everyday life and use long-term therapy to help you fully integrate your memories of trauma and to overcome emotional shock.