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:

The Ultimate Survival Guide To Dealing With A Break-Up

Getting over an ex isn’t always an easy process because we all mend, move on and heal differently. Whilst for some of us, a quick hookup and a few weeks of reflection is enough, others take much longer to move forward and on to new things. Whatever method you choose when it comes to forgetting about your past love experiences, know that it takes a lot of strength of character. The post breakup period can make us feel lonely and lost, but believe us when we say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Discover the motions people go through, and the steps involved to being able to recover for heartbreak.

10 Passive-Aggressive Examples To Help You Recognize This Behavior

We all have sarcastic and manipulative tendencies that emerge when we feel stressed or even under pressure. Although, we can't particularly be proud of this kind of behavior, we all exhibit it. These negative behaviors are usually noticeable very quickly, that is, except in passive-aggressive people who bury their emotions. These particular individuals act in the shadows but are still very harmful and toxic, especially if you are friends with or even dating one. Discover our 10 examples that will help you to spot passive-aggressive behavior, and reveal what you can do when you are confronted with it.

How To Break Up With Someone You Live With - 5 Tips To Go About It

Have you decided to end your relationship, yet you want to do it in the kindest way possible? If you are in this situation, you must go about it in the right way, regardless of what's gone on or who is to blame. Breakups can be brutal, and you don't want to inflict pain and suffering on your partner, right? But you can't exactly let yourself be unhappy for much longer either, and need to move out. Letting someone down gently is a tough balance to enact, and it involves asking yourself the right questions to make the separation as painless as possible. If you want to be able to walk away from your partner in the smoothest possible way, you're in the right place.

The Power Of Hugs, It's Time To Share The Love

Individualism is great, but deep down we all have needs and do enjoy connecting and exchanging with other people. Humans all need a little affection and comfort at some point in their lives, no matter how strong they claim to be. That's right, at certain points in our lives, we all need to feel reassured, cared for and love, and hugging does just that! The question is why is this seemingly simple gesture so important in lifting our spirits and making us feel better?

10 Morning Routine Ideas For Productivity, Plus They Take Less Than 5 Minutes

At 6:55 a.m., the dreaded alarm clock violently rings out. By 6:56 a.m., you're no doubt already stressed at the thought of having to get up, get ready and rushing around. Yet with a little motivation and 5 minutes to spare, you can transform this stressful morning ritual into a moment of relaxation. A productive day starts in the morning and motivates us to go out and be successful. Starting out right will set you up for a great rest of the day and will remodel your attitude into a winning one! Take a deep breath and put the normal stress to the back of your mind because we're about to enter a peaceful space.

Early Signs Of A Toxic Relationship, And Tips On How To Escape

It's often tough for those in abusive relationships to face the music and admit that things aren't healthy. Controlling behaviors span from constant criticism, which makes victims feel drained, to domestic abuse. If any of these situations ring true to you, then it’s probably about time you gave your relationship some thought and started thinking about leaving the relationship and moving on. We're here to discuss what qualifies a relationship as toxic and what we need to do to put an end to the abuse. After all, it's time you made your future brighter and started focusing on your wellbeing.

These Are The 10 Most Common Reasons People Divorce

Love is only said to last 3 years, which probably explains why only 50% of marriages get past the 9-year mark. Learning this made me instantly realize that I needed to start making more of an effort with my partner if I didn't want to part of this sad statistic. Relationships are tough, what with the daily grind, the invasive in-laws and the temptation to go looking for affection and attention elsewhere. Without further ado, discover the 10 most common reasons for divorce.

Why Do I Constantly Need To Be In Control?

Wanting things to go well is perfectly normal, but sometimes this need for perfection can represent a huge barrier in our lives. Do you have trouble not giving in to the temptation of micromanaging everything in your life? Does leaving things to chance make you nervous and put you on edge? Where does your need to control everything come from? Letting go and becoming more easygoing will change everything for you and help you start living your best life. Discover how to let loose and free yourself from this need.

So What If I Hate Working?

I always thought that I was surrounded by people who loved their jobs, that is until I started openly talking about how much I hate working. Let’s get one thing straight, I’ve never liked my job, but have only recently built up the courage to talk about it. That's right, I used to hide my despair under a huge smile in an effort to convince myself I was overreacting, plus I was also afraid of other people judging me. In fact, daring to share my thoughts got me asking if I was the problem; was I the black sheep? Or, were my reasons for this bold statement justified? It's time to see if are all secretly on the same wavelength.

Why Am I So Used To Falling Out Of Love At Record Speed?

My longest relationship only lasted 2 years, which might not seem like a long time, but it's a big achievement for me because I can never usually get past the 6-month mark without becoming bored stiff. Even though my past relationship have always been healthy, they've never satisfied me, which lead me to wonder am I cursed with eternal dissatisfaction? Relationships never seem to excite me for long enough and always eventually fizzle out, leaving me wanting to head for the hills. Despite my past failures, I still believe in love and want to get to the bottom of why I give up on romance so easily.

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

How to soothe an anxiety attack