PTSD- The Officers Checklist
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Knowing the signs of PTSD
we've all been there, we've had to talk ourselves down.... and later, we've all been there again in our minds. you can walk the body away from a moment but sometime the mind stays there. its natural... and its beatable.
there's a lot of talk about PTSD in the law enforcement profession, and in corrections specifically... there are a lot of articles you can read on the subject of PTSD.
because knowledge is power i thought it would be a good idea to put together a bullet point list of symptoms and signs to look for.
A few questions you might ask yourself or your co-worker:
*are you having flash backs that cause you to relive the event(s) for minutes or even days at a time?
*are you having upsetting dreams or nightmares about the event(s)?
*are you avoiding thinking or even talking about the event(s)?
*are you no longer doing activities you once enjoyed prior to the event(s)?
*are you experiencing depression, a feeling of emotional numbness, or hopelessness?
*are you having memory problems or difficulty concentrating?
*are you having trouble maintaining relationships with those you were previously close to?
*are you easily startled or frightened more so now than before the event(s)?
*are you drinking more than before or engaging in other self destructive behavior?
*are you having trouble managing your anger?
*are you experiencing hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren't there?
Knowing what to look for in yourself and others
symptoms of PTSD typically start within three months of an event, however, in a small number of cases symptoms may not appear until years after the event.
symptoms can come and go. You may have more symptoms when things are stressful in general, or when you run into reminders/triggers of what you went through.
Seeing a news report about an officer assault or death on duty may make you feel overcome by memories of your own experience, just as hearing a car back fire might cause a veteran to relive combat experiences.
your friends asking you to listen to an audio recording of a dispatch "end of watch" may seem touching to them, but could send you into a tail spin.
It's normal to have a wide range of feelings and emotions after a traumatic event, But if you have these disturbing thoughts and feelings for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to trusted friends, talk to your co-workers. aproach your superior about mental health.
if youre not comfortable opening up in your work environment talk to your health care professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse. better yet, treatment can get your life back.
We All Go Home
Experiences, good and bad, both on the job and in our personal lives, are educational moments.Learn. Learn about yourself, learn about your team mates. Help each other learn. We are all built differently and will cope with stress and traumatic events differently. Watch out for your brothers and sisters. We are all we have for 8-12 hours at a time.
WE ALL GO HOME
Stay safe out there my friends.