Author: IAFF Center of Excellence Staff
Seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t easy. Even if you accept that you need help, you may still shy away from professional care and hope your circumstances improve. However, the old adage isn’t always true; when it comes to PTSD, time doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds – not without clinical help. While seeking treatment may be uncharted territory, putting it off can be obstructive to your own personal growth, or even dangerous.
Many people avoid seeking professional care for PTSD because they fear the potential repercussions in their professional and personal lives. Hiding your challenges and putting on a facade of normality — despite the sleepless nights, hypervigilance and flashbacks — seems like a safer and more affordable alternative. Unfortunately, trying to ignore the symptoms of PTSD and continuing to put off seeking treatment can actually make more serious behaviors surface, including substance abuse. Faced with situations at work that may be similar to a previously experienced traumatic event, you may trigger PTSD symptoms on a daily basis. This doesn’t just make daily life emotionally difficult and exhausting — it can also affect your ability to perform your job as a fire fighter. Seeking help for PTSD and other co-occurring disorders can address these and other concerns before they negatively impact work or home life.
It’s natural to want to avoid painful memories, thoughts and feelings. This may explain why so many fire fighters and paramedics avoid seeking treatment for PTSD. You might wonder what good reliving your past experiences in a professional treatment setting could do, aside from causing more pain. However, while reliving traumatic memories can be difficult, it can also be healing when done in a clinical setting. PTSD symptoms persist because the brain hasn’t fully processed trauma. One way to work through a traumatic experience is to confront trauma in a safe, supportive environment. With the help of a trained professional, people with PTSD can gradually process traumatic events, find ways to cope with triggers and reduce symptoms to a manageable level.
Some of the most common PTSD symptoms that treatment can help you cope with include:
The sooner you get treatment for PTSD, the better chance you have of making a recovery and continuing to perform the work that you love. Your friends, family and community need you. If you’re ready to get the help you need, contact the IAFF Center of Excellence today. Representatives are available to take your call.