Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic, shocking or frightening event. For a fire fighter, this might involve running into a burning home, searching for and rescuing someone, or witnessing the injuries of a victim or victims. For some, PTSD begins soon after the disturbing event. For others, it develops months or even years later, often after a triggering incident. This might be something as innocent as seeing a burning candle, hearing children playfully screaming at a park, or running up a flight of stairs.
All of these symptoms can be obstacles to a normal life at home and on the job, both inside and outside of the firehouse. They can also be a hindrance to healthy relationships with co-workers, friends and family. As a result, many fire fighters seek unhealthy methods of self-medicating, including drugs and alcohol. Some even consider and attempt suicide .
No one should suffer with PTSD on their own. If you’re a fire fighter struggling with this disorder, or you know one who is, the team at IAFF Center of Excellence wants to help you. Give us a call to speak with one of these professionals, and regain your peace of mind.