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Reversing PTSD among Police Officers

posted Oct 1, 2012, 10:49 AM by S. Wickelgren   [ updated Oct 30, 2012, 10:53 PM by Mark Wickelgren ]
Our way of living is affected by many stressors around us. This is one measure of our emotional strength and maturity. If you’re emotionally unprepared and easily give in to the pressures of life, anxiety will easily pull you down!

Think of a police officer who has witnessed or handled crimes that involved death of a citizen or potential colleague. If the police officer is mentally and emotionally weak, they may develop a serious anxiety disorder. That is why police mental health should be given proper attention to prepare police officers both emotionally and mentally.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious anxiety disorder that usually occurs in individuals who experienced a traumatic event involving a threat to their life. It may result from moral damages or death resulting from war, disaster, assault, battery, and similar events. Police and military officers, especially those involved in wars, are more prone to develop this disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder especially among police officers is not a normal condition. At first, one might be able to handle it by trying to suppress the feelings until they reach the point of giving up. PTSD is a reversible condition provided the individual seeks professional help as early as possible.

When is the right time to seek medical advice or see a police therapist? Use this guide to know:
  • Disturbance in performance of daily routines. You can’t move on obviously. You keep on reliving the experience because you haven’t vented out your feelings and you were not able to overcome your anxiety. Nightmares, episodes of flashbacks, and over-reacting to similar events are some of the obvious manifestations.
  • Feelings of weakness and avoidance. You are suppressing your feelings and avoiding talking about it. You may also want to be alone and detach yourself from the people around you. You feel that you don’t have a future anymore.
  • Loss of concentration. You may experience difficulty concentrating on things that you usually do. You are starting to panic and startle easily especially when you see things that remind you of the experience. You are also becoming hyper vigilant, irritable, and have difficulty falling asleep.
  • You may also feel “survivor’s guilt.” The most common physical signs and symptoms of which are dizziness and headaches, fainting, palpitations, increased heart rate, agitation, or a feeling of uneasiness.
Everyone has different ways of handling stress and trauma. Some police officers have stronger coping mechanisms and more stable emotions to easily handle this kind of condition, but others may not. Conducting psychological training focusing on the emotional strength and maturity of police officers is essential especially in their line of work.

But when you feel like there is a problem, don’t hold back – seek a mental health professional's help!