Tag Archives: trauma

Uniformed Services

Why Do Police Officers and Firefighters Face Addiction Issues So Often?

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become afflicted with the disease of addiction regardless of his or her income, education level, race, religion, etc. People’s professions dot not make them immune from addiction, even if their profession is a police officer or a firefighter.

You may consider it ironic for a police officer or a firefighter to face addiction issues. However, as the addiction rates of the general population have surged in recent years, the addiction rates among police officers and firefighters have surged in proportion. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 806,400 law enforcement workers suffer from addiction. A study done in 2012 showed that 56 percent of firefighters were binge-drinkers. There are a variety of factors behind the prevalence of addiction in police officers and firefighters.

  • Stress

Police officers and firefighters have very high-stress jobs. The shifts are long, and the work is physically taxing and mentally taxing. The hours are not limited to nine to five on weekdays. Police officers and firefighters have to work late night shifts, overnight shifts, weekend shifts, and holiday shifts, so they are given little time for family, recreation, and decompression.

  • Traumatic Experiences on the Job

Police officers and firefighters are bombarded with violence on a constant basis. Their genuine feelings regarding these traumatic experiences often go unexpressed. Family and friends often do not want to listen to a police officer and firefighter talk about the details of his or her job. Police officers and firefighters do not get the opportunity to support their fellow workers due to confidentiality policies prohibiting them from discussing cases. Often, police officers and firefighters detach from all emotions as a survival mechanism, and using substances are a method to make that possible.

  • Mental Health Disorders

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression tend to be prevalent among police officers and firefighters. These mental health disorders tend to go untreated among police officers and firefighters due to the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in the United States and the profession. Using alcohol or drugs is a way for them to self-medicate these undiagnosed and untreated disorders.

There is Hope for Police Officers and Firefighters

Police officers and firefighters are often hesitant to seek help for their addictions for several reasons.

  • Stigma surrounding substance abuse in their profession
  • Denial, thinking “I am not like those people I arrest” “I’m a police officer or a firefighter, so this cannot happen to me”
  • Stigma from their community because of their substance abuse and profession
  • Losing their Job

While they have legitimate reasons to be concerned, they should not make their concerns a barrier to getting into recovery. If their addiction goes untreated, it will only worsen and may lead to incarcerations, institutionalizations, or death. The benefit of recovery outweighs the stigma and potential losses. There are many resources police officers and firefighters can turn to for help.

  • Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and Narcotic’s Anonymous (NA)
  • Intensive-Outpatient (IOP)
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Psychologist or a Psychiatrist
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Inpatient Detox
  • Family and/or Friend Support

If you or someone you know is a police officer or firefighter who is suffering from addiction, seek help or encourage him or her to seek the help he or she needs. It will be beneficial in the long-term. Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Why Do People Start Using Drugs?

Drug use and awareness of it has become more prevalent in our society in the past few years. There’s a chance that you or someone you know has been affected directly or indirectly by some type of drug use. There is a reason that each individual addicted to drugs starts using at some point. That first step is a path towards addiction that is full of twists, turns, and unexpected obstacles.

  • Some people start using drugs because their friends are doing it. It might seem like everyone else is doing it, and choosing not to use is a choice that may make someone feel ostracized with their peers. Those who are using typically encourage others to join in on the fun, and from there use escalates in frequency and quantity.
  • Others choose to start using drugs because they are bored and the effects look like fun. Maybe it’s been a stressful day and someone wants to wind down. Sitting around and watching television or reading a book may not be nearly as appealing as having a drink with some friends or sitting in a circle smoking marijuana while socializing. After they’ve experienced the high the drugs offer, they are an appealing alternative to dealing with the everyday trials and tribulations in life.
  • Relaxation is yet another reason people give for trying drugs. Work, school, kids, family and everyday life are all common stressors in life that everyone tries to deal with in their own way. Some people exercise, others play video games and some choose to use drugs as a way to kickback and relax. The feeling can be similar to not caring, such as with marijuana, or a euphoric feeling which is experienced when someone uses opiates.
  • Curiosity and fitting in are strong reasons that addicts give for starting to try various drugs. People who feel bullied, like they don’t have a lot of friends or don’t have things in common with many people their age can have their curiosity sparked. If friends start using drugs, it may trigger a desire to try it out too in an attempt to keep a strong connection with their friends without being an outsider.

Watching a loved one, friend or family member go through drug addiction is a stressful time. There are options when an addict is ready to seek help. Give us a call at 800-737-0933 to start getting help now.

Beginners Guide to Understanding Why You’re An Addict

Finding out about a loved one’s addiction can be challenging. Parent’s often ask themselves where they went wrong, why their child or children made the choices that led to their addiction, and why their child is addicted. Addiction is not solely the result of non-adaptive decisions. Instead, it is often the result of genetics, psychological problems, trauma, and one’s social environment.

Genetics & Social Environment

Addiction is partly genetic. There is no single gene associated with addiction. For example, many twin studies have demonstrated that children of alcoholics are at least four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than their peers. There are multiple genes that can influence an individual’s likelihood to develop an addiction. Some genes influence impulse control or decrease the likelihood of individual’s disengaging in substance use. Other genes influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Although genes cannot be changed, families with histories of addictions can work proactively to educate their children, adolescents, and adult children about the genetic risks for developing addictive behaviors. This can include helping your loved one make positive social connections in their community.

Psychological Problems & Trauma

Addiction rarely presents as a single issue. Instead, many individuals who experience addiction also have depression, significant anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mood disorders. Addiction is often developed as a non-adaptive coping skills in order to manage the symptoms of psychological problems. This is why individual and group mental health counseling is often a key part of addiction treatment. Mental health counseling can be used during addiction treatment and in recovery to help individual’s learn adaptive coping skills so that they can manage anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders without drugs or alcohol.

Trauma

Trauma, especially childhood trauma, can significantly impact the brain’s development. Chronic stress and fear, which are related to childhood experiences of abuse and neglect,can result in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments. Two thirds of addicts have experienced physical or sexual trauma during childhood. You cannot always control your child’s experiences. However, knowledge about trauma can help inform addiction treatment. There are a variety of trauma-focused therapeutic approaches which can help your adult child address his or her traumatic experiences and learn alternative coping skills.

Genetics cannot be changed. However, addiction can be conquered by addressing your loved one’s social environment, underlying psychological issues, and past traumas.

We can help, call now 800-737-0933