Particularly strong and acute stress reactions can occur immediately after exposure to an extraordinarily stressful situation. These different reactions are normal after a crisis, but their extent and intensity can make them overwhelming. This can lead to a strong feeling of helplessness and loss of control.

  • Palpitations, sweating, shivering, dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea or other GI-problems
  • Dizziness, “cotton wool head”
  • Feeling disconnected, unreal and distanced
  • Fear of losing control or dying
  • Feeling warm, cold or numb
  • Muscle aches, restlessness, feeling tense
  • Becoming easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Difficulties with sleep and concentration

The affected person should have someone with them throughout the duration of the acute reactions. It is normal for some of the reactions to persist over time. In rare cases, acute psychosis or acute suicide risk may occur.

Contact emergency services in your area.