ELi5: How does adrenaline work to keep you alive and moving after a serious injury?


I saw this morbid video of a guy who got shot 12 times by a police officer and somehow he continued to walk for almost 10 seconds towards the officer before falling on his back. How is it possible for the human body to keep itself moving after suffering a serious injury like that?

In: 1

Seems like there’s two different questions here. Adrenaline does a lot of different things. It causes your airway to dilate, it causes peripheral blood vessel to constrict, it causes your heart to be faster and harder, it causes your liver to release a lot more sugar into your blood, etc. But it definitely does NOT give you any sort of super powers. If the guy in question was shot 12 times and still moving its just because none of those bullets hit somewhere thst would instantly kill or incapacitate them. They likely died from blood loss.

PS: Don’t watch videos like this, try are damaging to your psyche.

To echo the other excellent reply: It allows someone a burst of energy and allows for flight from harm. Ideally, it protects you *from* getting hurt by allowing you to flee *before* being injured. Afterwards it’s doing little more than suppressing pain and flooding you with sugars, but nothing that’s going to stop bleeding or such. Adrenaline is not magic.

More importantly: Death is not instantaneous outside of direct damage to the brain (and not always then, as people have survived – albeit with severe changes and impairments – serious head injury). Even grievous bodily harm that *guarantees* someone cannot survive for long still means the oxygenated blood currently in their body can keep them alive or even fully conscious for a surprisingly long time. People have been shown struggling and conscious for short times after losing their entire lower half. No living creature just flops over instantaneously after being mortally wounded (again, outside of being rendered unconscious via trauma to the brain).

Do NOT try to find examples of that by the way. I was sent a video of a man blown in half by an IED damn near 20 years back by an asshole “friend” who liked shock sites and the look on his face as he tried to struggle to move and figure out what happened still haunts me.

Don’t watch gore or snuff. Seriously: It’s crass and *will stay with you for life.*

Edit: Fixed typos, probably missed several others.