Experiencing a Traumatic Event Could Lead into Shock
After experiencing a traumatic event people are often described as being in a state of shock. But what exactly do we mean by this? What is shock, really? How does it affect our bodies, and how can we learn to heal from it? First we must understand the symptoms of shock.
Sometimes there is a clear medical explanation, as in the case with diabetic shock. This is referred to as insulin shock or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This occurs as a result of having very high levels of insulin in your body. People who suffer from diabetes have to maintain a careful balance between their insulin levels, how much food they eat, and the extent of their physical exercise. An imbalance could result in diabetic shock, which is a severe health risk for those living with diabetes.
Symptoms of Shock
The symptoms can be mild, such as dizziness or hunger, to severe, such as fainting, seizures, or even falling into a coma. Mild to moderate hypoglycemia is treated by ingesting sugar in order to raise your blood sugar levels. Examples include eating a tablespoon of honey, a quarter of a cup of raisins, or drinking a cup of milk. However, prevention is better than cure. If you want to avoid hypoglycemia then it is best to adhere to the following advice:
- Always take the recommended dosage of insulin and other medication at the recommended time.
- Eat correct portions of nutritious food at the correct times. Do not skip any meals.
- Regularly check your blood glucose level.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Always carry some healthy snacks with you that will raise your blood sugar levels, if necessary.
- Be aware of what might use more sugar than usual for example an unusually hard exercise work out.
Another type of shock that has a clear medical basis is septic shock. What is septic shock? Septic shock is a complication of an infection. It occurs when toxins cause an inflammatory response throughout your entire body. However, it can get much worse.
A full-body inflammatory response is the first of three stages associated with septic shock. In cases of severe sepsis, the blood flow to the kidneys or brain is disrupted, which leads to organ failure.
Blood clots form, which disallows the blood to flow properly causing gangrene (loss and death of tissue) in arms, fingers, legs, and toes. The third and final stage is true septic shock.
To answer the questions ‘What is septic shock?” in more detail: your blood pressure drops significantly. This can cause heart, respiratory, or organ failure. It can even lead to death.
Any sign of sepsis needs to be treated as quickly as possible to prevent it developing and worsening. The treatment consists of medication such as intravenous antibiotics, vaso pressure medication, insulin, and corticosteroids. Although many causes of septic shock cannot be prevented, it is always a good idea to treat any bacterial infection as promptly and thoroughly as possible.
In addition to medical forms of shock, there are also psychological states of shock that need to be recognized and taken into account. In particular, childhood trauma and other forms of psychological trauma often cause someone to be in a state of shock.
Psychological trauma occurs in response to a distressing or frightening event. Although most people recover from such events with support from others, some suffer long-term effects. This can either occur directly after the event itself, or some time later. Typically these long-term side-effects involve difficulty coping or functioning with everyday life.
The specific symptoms of this type of trauma differ from individual to individual. Symptoms can be physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral in nature. This cluster of symptoms is what we typically associate with someone being in a ‘state of shock’.
It must be stated that these symptoms are considered to be a normal reaction to a distressing life event. However, that is not to say that they should not be managed or treated. Indeed, this is necessary in order to prevent these symptoms developing into more serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, or substance abuse. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to manage your reaction to trauma.
Here are some ideas to help you heal from the experience of traumatic events:
- It is important that you give yourself the freedom to experience upset, anger, and other emotions following the event.
- Focus on healthy methods of coping rather than things like overeating, under-eating, or substance abuse.
- Do not implement any big decisions or life changes while you are still recovering from the event.
- Do not bottle up your thoughts and feelings. Find someone with whom you can rely for support – someone who you can talk to and can hear you with compassion.
- Add structure and activity to your days by continuing with your normal routine.
- Be sure to exercise regularly.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Expressing your feelings will aid the healing process.
- If you notice that you are becoming anxious, you will usually experience shortness of breath. If this occurs be conscious of your breathing, inhaling slowly through your nose to the count of five and exhaling slowly through your nose to the count of five.
- Or inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth relaxing your shoulders and your entire body. Always do this very slowly, focusing completely on the breath moving in and out of your body. This will do wonders to bring you back to center.
- If you feel that you are not coping, seek psychological assistance from a professional.
- Look into homeopathy and or flower essences as natural ways to support your healing process.
It is important to remember that trauma is subjective. What one person experiences as traumatic will differ from others. This is particularly relevant in the case of childhood trauma. Children experience things differently, and can feel traumatized in a situation that adults wouldn’t typically see as particularly distressing.
My family is a perfect example of this. I am one of 11 children and as I have spoken to several of my sisters and brothers their experiences of their childhood was shocking to me. We sometimes look at each other and chuckle and say”,” Did we grow up in the same household?”
Each one of us experienced the same situation sometimes radically different than another. I am particularly sensitive and felt things much different than my brother who didn’t notice things to be as difficult as I did sometimes.
Generally, children will experience trauma when their feelings of safety and security are threatened. This could include anything from hospitalization to natural disasters. If you as an adult are dealing with a child or adolescent who has experienced a traumatic event you can provide support in the following ways:
- Exhibit emotional control.
- Be open-hearted and compassionate.
- Try to limit loud noises and other potentially scary situations.
- Be reassuring while you listen and take them seriously.
- Encourage them to talk about it and explain it was not their fault.
- Provide a loving and safe environment. Create stability by returning to your normal routines as soon as possible.
- Spend more time together and focus on having fun and relaxing.
- Remind them that it is safe to feel their feelings and then move on.
Unfortunately, traumatic incidents are all too common in modern life. However, that does not mean to say that you have to suffer the effects of shock indefinitely. Be proactive in implementing strategies that will help you and those close to you to heal and recover.
Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.