How To Overcome An Emotional Shock

Last updated by Katie M.

I think we’ve all experienced a more or less traumatic shock at some point in our lives. For me, it was my mother’s death. This event was incredibly violent for my mental health. I didn’t expect to lose my mother in an accident at 25. This is what’s called an emotional shock. It’s a psychological and physical reaction to a shocking situation. It can affect our lives and develop into a psychiatric illness. We should never minimize what we feel after a traumatic event. I did so for several years, which prevented me from coming to terms with this event. So how can you recognize it? How can you heal from an emotional shock? All will be explained.

How To Overcome An Emotional Shock

What are the symptoms of an emotional shock?

What is an emotional shock?

When we experience an emotional shock, it’s difficult to deal with our emotions and to understand what we are feeling. It usually happens after a traumatic event that completely overwhelms us. It can be a bereavement, a break-up, a family problem, an accident, sexual violence, etc. Likewise, it’s usually a negative event that becomes a psychological trauma. Emotional shock causes after-effects and can become an illness if it’s not treated.

🧠 Usually, a traumatic shock lasts from a few hours to a few days. If the symptoms of shock last for at least a month after the event, it’s called post-traumatic stress. The psychiatrist Gérard Macqueron explains that the state of shock can become chronic and be complicated by the appearance of other pathologies. This ranges from mood disorder to alcoholism and depression.

What does emotional shock feel like?

When we experience a traumatic event, our bodies will secrete a large quantity of stress hormones. According to Dr Macqueron, these can provoke 3 main types of reaction. First, immobility, we’re in a state of shock, and we freeze in disbelief. Then flight because we don’t understand the situation. And finally, there are inappropriate reactions. We may act confused, disoriented, or even violently or disrespectfully. As well as these behaviors, symptoms that are often physical appear. They can vary from one person to another and can be numerous.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • breathing difficulties,
  • sweating,
  • heart palpitations,
  • digestive problems,
  • trembling and stuttering,
  • crying,
  • feelings of sadness or despair,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • skin rash,
  • guilt or shame (particularly in the case of a sexual assault),
  • physical pain,
  • confusion.

>>> Discover the causes of sleep paralysis

How do you recover after an emotional shock?

How to react?

It’s not easy to take care of yourself when you’ve experienced a particularly traumatizing event. We’re so immersed in our suffering that we don’t realize we need help. Taking care of an emotional shock therefore depends on different cornerstones, such as being surrounded by the right people. The people who love us will see that there has been a change and that we’ve experienced something traumatic. The symptoms allow us to become aware of a change in frame of mind or personality. And most importantly, we need to be able to express in words what has traumatized us. Consulting a therapy is more than necessary if we notice that the symptoms are still present. But beyond talking about shock, there’s a method that can help us to overcome the trauma.

Treating an emotional shock

The most suitable treatment for an emotional shock is EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). It’s a technique that was discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987 and is recognized by the WHO. EMDR must capture our attention by visual (often eye movement) or audible stimuli to lower unconscious defenses. This method will allow you to understand the emotions experienced during a psychological shock. By doing this exercise, you will be able to move one and no longer emotionally relive the traumatic memory.

➡ EMDR cannot be done alone, it has to be done with a therapist. That’s why it’s important to consult a health professional if you’ve experienced a traumatic event.

>>> Find out whether alternative fasting is for you

How long does it take to recover from emotional shock?

Emotional shock usually disappears within a few hours or even days. When these symptoms persist one month after the event, it is called post-traumatic stress disorder. If left untreated, this condition can become chronic and be complicated by the appearance of other pathologies such as mood disorders, depression, personality changes, alcoholism, or drug addiction.

Editor’s note: Treatment is necessary

An emotional shock requires treatment, and the sooner this treatment begins, the lower the risk of developing a chronic psychiatric condition. EMDR is particularly effective for treating an emotional shock.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


Why not check out these articles too?

Article presented by Katie M.

Discover the world through my eyes.

Read our latest articles here:

Psychological Abuse: Identify It To Get Out Of It

A little belittling remark here, minimizing our emotions there... So many little things that show us that we’re being psychologically abused. It may seem trivial, but that’s the problem. We downplay it too much, which makes it the most common type of abuse. So, how do you identify psychological abuse? What should you do if you’re a victim? Let’s explain.

Behavioral Disorders: The List & Their Definitions

I suffer from an eating disorder, and several people around me have a mood disorder. I’m not completely unfamiliar with behavioral disorders, or at least not these. However, there are several types of disorders and they can even affect sexual behavior. So how do you define them? Here’s a list and some definitions related to behavioral disorders.

10 Reasons Why Your Ex Slept With Someone Else After Your Breakup

We are all unique individuals, and we, therefore, go about handling breakups and the other obstacles life throws our way, differently. Now, when it comes to breakups, there are those of us that almost become celibate and decide that they can't stand the idea of getting to know anyone ever again. Then, on the other hand, there are those that fill their phones with dating apps and jump from one one-night stand to the next. This second scenario may seem harmless, but once we dig a little deeper into the repercussions of it, we soon realize that sleeping with other people so freshly out of a relationship masks troubling sentiments of unhappiness and uneasiness.

I Constantly Need Recognition

Ever since I was a child, I’ve felt like I do things according to others. My choices and my behavior have long been dictated by the approval of others. As I’ve got older, I’ve learned to assert myself and detach myself from what others might think of my actions. Why do we constantly seek this validation, and how can we get rid of this need for recognition when it becomes toxic? Having been there myself, I’ll explain it all to you!

How To Camouflage Your Cellulite At The Beach

You were well on your way. You were holding on, motivated by the idea of finally having a bikini body this year. But then the lockdowns and the laziness all hit you at once... That’s right, your cellulite is still there and not ready to leave just yet. But guess what?! Cellulite is like a little pimple, either we own it, or we resort to using tricks to camouflage it.

I Never Thought I’d Say This, But I Hate Working From Home…

Work has always been a synonym of repression for me because it takes up so much of our precious time. Let’s be honest, a 9-5 job with a horrendous daily commute often means that work is sadly our sole occupation. So, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck over a year ago, and we were all ordered to stay home, I found it hard to hide my joy in front of my distraught coworkers; although thankfully my acting talents saved me. You can probably already tell, but going into the office every day was nothing less than torture for me. Yet, all these months later, I’ve realized that I despise working from home and would do anything to sit in my uncomfortable office chair once again!

Do We Always Need To Have The Last Word?

Today, I’m focussing on a habit that drives me crazy: wanting to have the last word. It’s probably because I’m not very good at comebacks or self-confident enough that I’m both fascinated and annoyed by people who always want to be right. But why do they always want to have the last word? What’s behind it?

I Still Suck My Thumb As An Adult

In general, thumb sucking ends around the age of 6. I say “in general” and not “normally”, because as an adult I don’t feel weird or particularly bothered by it. When I get stressed, I allow myself to let go and return to my childhood self by sucking my thumb. Those who know about it or catch me by surprise make me realize I should be ashamed… But is this habit a big deal? What if it makes me feel better? It’s certainly no worse than lighting up a cigarette or biting your nails…

Why Do Hugs And Physical Contact Make Me Feel Uncomfortable?

There are people who don’t like to be touched at all, and who are almost disgusted by physical contact. There are people who like to caress and be caressed for anything and everything, and there are people like me who always recoil when someone tries to touch them. Why do I shy away from physical contact? What if it’s all linked to the past?

10 Examples Of Text Messages A Narcissist Sends

Narcissists definitely move with the times, which is why many of them constantly troll dating sites for new victims. Chatting with a manipulator of this magnitude can be a rollercoaster experience, with dizzying heights that might lead you to believe you are in love, to gut-wrenching lows which will make you question your worth. For any raving narcissist, text message exchanges are a great way to reel in victims and follow through with their master plans for ultimate control over them. Are you texting someone you suspect to be a narcissist? The examples below could confirm your suspicions.

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

How to detect a narcissist

How to detect a narcissist

How to soothe an anxiety attack

How to soothe an anxiety attack