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The most important distinction to make between the different forms of shock is that one is PSYCHOLOGICAL (mental. And the other is PHYSIOLOGICAL (circulatory.



Can occur after a physical or emotional traumatic experience. It effects your state of mind and although this can give you symptoms such as palpitations and feeling faint it doesn't usually lead to serious physical collapse. However its effects can persist for years.



This can be life threatening , common causes are:

  • Hypovolaemic shock (Low blood volume)
  • Cardiogenic shock (Heart fails to pump)
  • Anaphylactic shock (Severe reaction)
  • Septic shock (an overwhelming bacterial infections causes blood pressure to drop) fatal in more the 50% of cases


Signs & Symptoms:

  • Pale, cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid weak pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Blue lips
  • Feeling faint



  • Treat the cause of the shock.
  • Lay the patient down flat and raise their legs.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance (Dial 999.
  • Keep patient warm.
  • Do not allow the patient to eat, drink or smoke.
  • Loosen tight clothing.


As the brains oxygen supple decreases:

  • The patient will become restless and aggressive.
  • Yawning and gasping for air.
  • Unconscious.



  • If patient becomes unconscious , place into recovery position.


We hope you find this article useful. This is one in an alphabetical series of articles addressing various symptoms and their first aid treatments. If you would like more information on related resuscitation and first aid training, please get in touch.


You might also be interested in our blog. One of our more popular articles is about recognising a siezure.


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Read 54189 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2014
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