Exposure to traumatic events can impact a person’s mental health and even cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
When you become a first responder, you may feel prepared for all the job’s potential risks. Regular training for protocol and safety is created and taught to ensure firefighters, police, and paramedics can quickly react to extreme situations and walk away intact.
Many of these jobs offer benefit packages that cover workplace injuries, disability, and death. Significant life insurance policies are available to support spouses, children, and family members in the most unfortunate situations. One area that is rarely discussed and is just as important is a first responder’s mental health.
It is well-known that the nature of being a first responder is to arrive at the scene of an accident or emergency to help those in need. These situations are often dramatic, and first responders witness some of the most gruesome tragedies, deaths, and destruction. After a significant event or long-term exposure to these moments, it can impact a person’s mental health and even cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Types of PTSD
Three main types of PTSD often show different signs of the disorder; these include hyperarousal, avoidance, and re-experiencing.
Hyperarousal is when a person often has intense emotional responses to everyday situations. This could include anger or outbursts over common issues, insomnia, being easily startled, or on edge. Avoidance is when an individual feels guilt, depression, or lacks emotion after a traumatic event. They may not remember or block out the details and avoid situations or places that may trigger bad memories.
Finally, re-experiencing can be when unexpected flashbacks, nightmares, or fears of the trauma come up. It often produces rapid breathing and sweating, and many of the physical symptoms resurface from the original event. All of these experiences can impact life at home and work for years afterward.
While firefighters tend to be more affected than others, the stigma for seeking help runs across all types of first responders. It is important for those who think they may have PTSD to visit a doctor and get a professional opinion or diagnosis. If a doctor determines an individual has PTSD, he or she should notify their workplace.
An experienced PSTD workers’ compensation lawyer can also help when it is directly related to an event witnessed or experienced while working. In these situations, a legal professional who focuses on PTSD can help you get the necessary means to heal. This can include monetary amounts to support therapy, recovery of lost wages, or time off.
The Law Office of James Hoffmann has more than 30 years of experience helping Missouri residents and emergency service professionals. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, or other mental health disorders, let us help you. Call (816) 399-3706 for a FREE case evaluation.
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