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  • Sam DiFranco

<strong>First Line Affordable Counseling Center Tampa, Fl & Brandon, Fl </strong>

First responders are the individuals who respond to emergency situations in order to provide assistance: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, emergency dispatchers, and military health care workers. They frequently face potentially dangerous and even traumatic situations and thus may be susceptible to a wide range of medical and mental health issues.

The support of a therapist at Affordable Counseling Center in Tampa, FL & Brandon, FL can help first responders address PTSD. anxiety, and depression, as well as any other challenges they may face.

UNDERSTANDING FIRST RESPONDER ISSUES

The people who work in fields that bring them to the scene of crimes and disasters, man-made or otherwise, in order to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the event are known as first responders. They are often lauded as heroes for their willingness to put themselves into dangerous situations in order to help others. Because of the risks they face in the course of duty, they may experience a variety of issues, such as injury, anxiety, burnout, and depression.

It is not uncommon for people to experience some distress in response to a traumatic event, even when these events are faced routinely. Many people experience a mild degree of insomnia, fear, worry, or sadness that lasts a short period of time, is generally mild enough to not interfere greatly with general function, and usually subsides without any treatment.

For others, however, symptoms last longer and may be more serious. In some cases, first responders might experience symptoms of PTSD, such as intrusive memories about the event, flashbacks, nightmares, fear, physical tension or agitation, emotional numbness, and a desire to avoid talking or thinking about the traumatic event. Research shows that people who have experienced prior trauma are more likely to develop PTSD than those who have not; for that reason, first responders are at an increased risk for PTSD because they are likely to be exposed to trauma repeatedly as part of their work.

Substance abuse, depression, and suicide are other mental health issues particularly relevant to first responders. Some police officers, firefighters, and other first responders may use substances as a way to cope with the stress of their jobs, and research shows the rates of substance abuse are higher among first responders than the general population. The rates of suicide and depression are also higher among first responders, possibly at least in part due to the many environmental stressors they face. 

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