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Psychological shock is described as having a physical reaction to a traumatic event. Everyone experiences traumatic events differently. So some people may experience psychological shock after witnessing something frightening, like a serious car accident, while others may experience psychological shock after something like a breakup. By recognizing when you are going into psychological shock, you can learn how to best handle the situation. By understanding what you are feeling, it can make the situation less frightening and intimidating. Here is some basic information about psychological shock to get you started. 

Symptoms of Psychological Shock 

One key symptom that is pretty easy to recognize in the moment is the feeling of a huge surge of adrenaline. For some, this would feel sort of like an out of body experience, like watching the events happen as if you are watching a movie. For others, this can cause nausea, lightheadedness, and the inability to think straight. Ultimately you are entering the flight-or-fight response. Your body is about to make a quick decision as to how to best handle the situation. 

What You Should Do

If possible, the best thing to do would be to calm down. Take some breathes and focus on centering yourself. When your body enters the flight-or-fight response, it is trying to protect you from immediate physical harm.  That can cause your instincts to take over, but your instinctual response may not be the best one. Trying to calm down and rationally thinking about the situation will probably yield a better response. You can also rely on those around you. If they are calm and thinking clearly, try talking the situation through with them. By hearing their thought process, it may help you realize that your body can calm down as well.


Psychological shock can be a frightening and serious situation. Your body may experience sensations that it has never felt before. This can cause a very stressful situation. By learning what you are feeling, and why you are feeling it, you may be able to handle the situation better the next time it happens. By working with a professional, you can start to understand your body and mind better. A mental health professional can help you determine what may cause your reaction and what you should do when it happens. The Guest House is here to help you through that journey of discovery and education. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.