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Traumatic shock 101

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Catastrophic Injuries

Doctors define any condition where a person has trouble disassociating themselves from that disturbs well-being as trauma. When a person’s brain cannot find a way to escape, they can experience traumatic shock. Doctors in Arizona broadly divide traumatic shock into two broad categories. One is dissociative shock, which can impact the body’s emotions. The other is medical shock, which occurs when something goes wrong with the body’s blood system, receives catastrophic injuries, experiences a heart attack or suffers a spinal cord injury.

Signs of traumatic shock

Every person reacts differently to traumatic shock. A person may feel their body’s muscles tighten, go unconscious, feel cold and dizzy or experience a rapid heartbeat. Additionally, a person may struggle to breathe deeply and experience nausea or stomach pain. People also experience intense emotions, such as feeling helpless, panicked, confused and disorientated. Often the emotional symptoms lessen quickly while catastrophic injuries can last for life.

How doctors diagnose traumatic stress

Healthcare providers often use many tests to diagnose traumatic stress disorder. Usually, they diagnose the individual with acute stress disorder if the traumatic event occurred less than 30 days ago. They may also diagnose a person with post-traumatic stress disorder if they have not recovered in a few months. The provider may also diagnose the person with dissociative disorders if they do not seem in touch with reality.

Doctors often use a two-pronged approach to treat people with traumatic stress. They can prescribe medications to help the person with their symptoms. Then, they use trauma-focused therapy techniques that help a person learn what triggers the stress, learn coping skills and learn how to process traumatic events.