Halloween

Scared to death: 6 things that happen to your body when you're freaked

Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:30 PM ET

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We’re just two days shy of the scariest holiday of the year, which means horror movies, gruesome lawn decorations and hideous costumes are out in full force. While most moments of fear ( like when your heart starts frantically pounding the second you hear the theme song from Halloween) are harmless, experts told Good Morning America there can be times when sheer terror can shake someone not just to their core, but sometimes even shake them straight to the doctor’s office. For example:

Scared to death:

A good rush of adrenaline (and other chemicals) can cause a serious enough heart malfunction to render you lifeless.

Blinded by fear:

Something frightful can have the ability to shut down your nervous system, causing temporary blindness or hearing loss. (So is this why my sight starts to fade each time I attempt to balance my checkbook?)

Going white overnight:

Super-quick hair loss, caused by the scalp disorder telogen effuvium, leaves an opening for “grey strands that were hidden and are often newer, [to] become more prominent, making them appear grey almost overnight.” (President Obama has certainly gone grey in a short amount of time. Oh, I wonder what could be freaking him out…)

Moving in slow motion:

Apparently, a big dose of panic can stimulate the body’s “fight or flight” response, causing a person to become ultra-focused on the task at hand. Dr. Martin Samuels from Brigham and Women's Hospital described it as “a dissociative state” and “a kind of hypnosis.”

Becoming pale as a ghost:

When fear takes over your body, blood races to all of the vital organs in order to give you energy to bolt, draining the healthy glow right from your cheeks. Nicole Kidman, what’s wrong?

Getting the crap scared out of you:

Okay, so this saying wasn’t included in the original article. I guess that’s because it’s self-explanatory.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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