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PTSD doesn’t spare trauma providers and caregivers either

10-16-17 Category: Trauma

PTSD doesn’t spare trauma providers and caregivers either

Displaying utmost professionalism and unmatched skills in their duties, many emergency room professionals, paramedics, police officers and firefighters – trained to become certified first responders – have saved millions of lives across America risking their own lives. These brave men and women are trained to handle any kind of crisis, but at the end of a challenging day even they are vulnerable to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In the wake of two recent terrible tragedies in the country – the mass shooting of hundreds of people in Las Vegas and the large-scale havoc unleashed in Florida by hurricane Irma – experts believe the effects might also be visible in caregivers and responders. Speaking about the role of these heroes, renowned psychiatrist H. Steven Moffic at the Medical College of Wisconsin said that emergency room professionals are exposed to terrible trauma that they inescapably absorb a considerable amount of secondary PTSD reactions. Although it cannot be viewed as a full-blown PTSD, some research suggests that emergency doctors, nurses and other responders stand a 15-20 percent chance of being affected by the trauma around them.

However, Moffic expressed concern over a possible PTSD-induced burnout in the emergency departments nationwide. Though the emergency services system is expected to operate smoothly, that is not the case always. He said that burnout rate for emergency physicians is the highest in the medical field at a whopping 75 percent. “We talk about wounded warriors in war; we also have to recognize wounded healers in healthcare,” Moffic said.

Ignoring PTSD can be life-threatening

Repeated exposure to trauma can render anyone susceptible to PTSD. However, those on daring assignments face higher odds of being exposed to nerve-racking experiences, making them prone to PTSD. Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD are feeling weighed down with things that remind one of a painful past, experiencing continuous nightmares and reliving hurting memories or flashbacks of any tragedy.

Sadly, despite going through a daily ordeal, not everyone makes an effort to seek professional help to break from such deplorable conditions. Though there are many worthwhile treatments to deal with PTSD, the stigma of being recognized as a weak individual prevents many from seeking timely medical intervention. Some of the reasons why many caregivers or emergency responders battling PTSD fail to speak about their condition are:

  • Speaking openly could lead to unwanted outcomes: Fear of losing career opportunities or not being seen as a stable or responsible person at work is a major reason why many people prefer not to speak openly about their mental health condition.
  • Being deprived of access to timely treatment: Most emergency services personnel are generally posted in difficult situations and unfriendly locations at short notice, depending on the need and nature of emergencies. This could prevent them from seeking treatment not only for mental health, but for physical health problems as well.
  • Ensuring that they are not dismissed on any discreditable grounds: Research shows that being labeled as mentally unstable could attract dismissal, which, in turn, could have an adverse impact on the job-related benefits of such individuals, as well as their chances of finding another job.
  • Standing up to problems is a man’s job: The popular notion of masculinity and manliness is one of the biggest misconceptions held by most males in emergency services. This attitude needs to undergo a total transformation or matters could snowball into disastrous proportions.

Professional treatment is the key

PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can develop in any individual who has had a traumatic experience in his or her life. If left untreated at the right juncture, such a condition could snowball into something bigger and more complicated in the future. Without proper medical intervention, individuals battling PTSD are more prone to other aggravated conditions like substance use disorder and chronic depression.

If you or your loved one is battling PTSD or any other trauma, which continues to interfere in your daily life activities, get in touch with Sovereign Health to avail our world-class trauma treatment programs at our reputed treatment centers. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about our state-of-the-art residential trauma treatment centers spread across the U.S.

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