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First Responder Rehabs

First responders or emergency responders are the first on the scene of some of the most demanding, dangerous, and emotionally charged situations. They are the first to interact with those in need of immediate care, life-support, and urgent medical assistance. They are also the first to witness the aftermath of a crime, disaster, and loss of life. Although heroic and essential to society’s health and safety, these duties are often emotionally and physically draining. Chronic exposure to life-threatening situations, devastation, and loss, coupled with working long hours (sometimes 48-hour shifts) under abnormally stressful conditions, has a significant impact on one’s mental health. Unfortunately, this means there is often a considerable link between addiction and first response personnel. 

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Why Are First Responders Prone to Addiction?

First responder is a broad term that includes police, firefighters, and emergency medical services (such as EMTs and Paramedics). These highly trained professionals are frequently, sometimes many times in a day, exposed to situations that many would not be able to bear emotionally. This significantly increases the risk of developing mental health disorders and addictions. Despite the clear importance of seeking help for mental health and addiction-related concerns, there is an evident cultural stigma concerning mental health treatment. This stigma results in fear of being seen as weak or “not up to the task” of a first responder. These misguided and unfortunate misconceptions lead to increased addiction rates and can keep many first responders from seeking treatment. Instead, they often turn to substance abuse as a means of coping through self-medication. Due to acute stress and trauma often faced daily, it is common for first responders to developing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Both of these conditions require treatment in a setting where the providers are equipped to treat co-occurring disorders. If you are interested in learning more about such treatment centers in your area, and are a first responder ready to seek treatment, contact the professionals at My Recovery Source today. Let our experienced staff help you find the right treatment to suit your unique treatment needs and goals.

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Statistics of First Responders and Addiction

Law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and emergency services personnel all face a great deal of stress and trauma on a daily basis. Depending on the day, they may go from one stressful, emotionally charged situation directly to another without a moment’s reprieve. Police officers routinely witness devastating events. Today, the level of stress surrounding their work environment is higher than ever before. Police officers are at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse than most members of the general population. Recent statistics show that approximately one in four (between twenty and thirty percent) of police officers have a substance use disorder. 

Firefighters are subject to significant job stressors as well. Long shifts and traumatic calls lead to the development of mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and panic disorders. Similar to law enforcement and emergency services personnel, many firefighters turn to substances as a means of coping with the overwhelming symptoms of these disorders. A survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that almost thirty percent of firefighters engage in alcohol abuse, and approximately ten percent struggle with addiction to prescription drugs. 

In addition to twenty-four- and forty-eight-hour shifts, often with minimal sleep or time to decompression, emergency services personnel are responsible for life and death decisions regarding their patients. Between arriving at their call and transitioning their patient to hospital staff, emergency workers must make decisions pertaining to drug administration, treatment, and often means of transport. All of the above have a significant outcome on the future health and well-being of their patient. Consequently, and unsurprisingly, emergency services workers are at considerable risk for developing mental health illnesses and substance use disorders. 

 

According to data provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as many as thirty-six percent of emergency services workers suffer from depression, and other twenty percent from post-traumatic stress disorder, and emergency medical staff are almost ten times more likely to commit suicide than other members of the population. Instances of alcohol and drug abuse are significantly higher among emergency services personnel, although current and accurate statistics are difficult to find. 

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Benefits of Going to a First Responder Rehab

Mental health and addiction treatment for first responders is similar to that of the general population. For most, treatment includes various models of individual, group, and family therapy. Also, essential elements such as nutritional therapy, detox services, alternative therapies, and essential aftercare arrangements are included as part of a comprehensive treatment program. The significant benefit of going to a first responder rehab is participating in therapy with others who are part of the same profession and share many of the same struggles. It is not unreasonable to assume those who do not share such strenuous occupations and emotionally charged experiences may not understand the roots of first responders’ emotions and experiences. 

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How to Find a First Responder Rehab

Seeking treatment for mental health concerns or substance use disorders can be difficult for anyone. For many first responders, the challenge is amplified. Paramedics, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters are used to helping others. They are the first ones on the scene during the darkest times members of their community may experience. They are trained to put their emotions aside (even if for the moment) to ensure the health, safety, and sometimes survival of those they help.

Consequently, it can sometimes feel difficult and overwhelming to put aside the calling to help others and admit to being the one who needs help.  The daily stress and trauma faced by first responders can be triggering. It can result in new or worsening mental health conditions and substance use disorders. 

If you are a first responder seeking guidance on how to find a first responder rehab near you, contact the team at My Recovery Source. Our highly skilled team of knowledgeable professionals can help you learn more about the rehabs in your area and how the services and amenities provided can help you receive the vital treatment you need. For first responders to successfully help members of their community, they must care for their mental and physical health too. Don’t wait another day to seek help. Let the team at My Recovery Source help you find a first responder rehab today. 

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Calls to our general helpline from your area will be answered by a My Recovery Source treatment advisor.

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If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can: browse top-rated listings, visit our homepage, or visit www.samhsa.gov, or by calling 800-662-HELP.