Substance abuse and addiction are some of the most common problems in the United States and everyone has the potential to be affected by them. This includes first responders. When someone suffers from substance abuse and addiction, this impacts not only the individual but those around them as well. These issues can strain personal relationships, impact someone’s professional life, and might even make it hard for someone to go about their daily routine. When these issues arise in the community of first responders, it is important for everyone to be aware of the issues that might arise. Understanding the issues ahead of time will allow someone to be more prepared to deal with them when the time is right.
Why are First Responders Impacted by Addiction and Substance Abuse?
The jobs of first responders is incredibly stressful. Often, these individuals are asked to respond quickly to the most dangerous situations in society. Because of this, these professionals are asked to put their lives on the line day after day. They do this to help other people. At the same time, it is easy to see how this job can become stressful. These individuals provide first aid, medical assistance, and more to the survivors of criminal activity, natural disasters, and more. In many ways, these individuals are heroes. On the other hand, these professionals are also exposed to life-threatening, devastating situations with regularity. This can place a lot of physical and mental strain on their bodies. For this reason, there is a strong correlation between alcoholism, substance abuse, and addiction with the job of a first responder.
The Prevalence of Mental Health Issues
There is a lot of research showing that mental health issues are common among those who work as first responders. For example, many first responders are prone to developing depression. Some of the signs of depression include difficulty sleeping, problems with eating, and a loss of interest in activities that previously brought enjoyment. Other mental health issues include anxiety, which might make it hard for someone to go to work as a first responder. Some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety include panic attacks. Finally, the constant exposure to life-threatening situations can also cause first responders to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, outbursts, crying fits, and avoidance of triggers. This can impact someone’s ability to work as a first responder. To help cope with these mental health issues, many first responders will turn to alcohol and drugs. This will lead to the development of problems related to substance abuse and addiction.
The Signs of Addiction and Substance Abuse Among First Responders
If someone works as a first responder and has developed an issue with substance abuse and addiction, there are a few signs and symptoms that people should watch out for. First, some people might have trouble showing up to work every day. This is because these individuals know that their skills are impaired. Sometimes, they might call out sick or show up late more often than they did in the past. These individuals might also develop significant problems in their personal lives. They might skip out on family activities to feet their addiction. Friends might also start to notice a change as well. Often, these individuals become defensive, protective, and emotionally irritable. As the addiction wears on, financial issues might also start to take their toll. These individuals will do anything to feed their addiction. Eventually, their professional lives are going to suffer as well. This might lead to the loss of a job, further stressing their personal lives and financial situations. These are signs that it is time to get help. Fortunately, resources are available specifically for first responders.
Trust the Professionals for Help With Substance Abuse and Addiction in First Responders
When someone is struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it is important to trust the professionals for help. There are lots of programs out there to help people who are dealing with these issues. Some are even tailored to help a specialized subset of individuals. This is exactly the case with first responders as well. Located in the Angeles National Forest, surrounded by the beauty of mountains and nature, is First Responders First. This is an 1100-acre substance abuse, alcohol, and addiction treatment program. It has been designed exclusively to serve the community of first responders. It has numerous state of the art treatment facilities and features innovative treatment methods. At First Responders First, we know how the stress of the job can impact first responders. We know that addiction is a prevalent issue. That is why we are here to help. To learn more about our services, please visit the website today!