Residuals of Police Occupational Trauma

GSG

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http://www.spiritofthelaw.org/sol1art2.html

This paper describes possible consequences of exposure to trauma in the police occupation. During the span of a career, police officers are generally exposed to traumatic events more often and more intensely than those in other occupations. Under such conditions, the probability of addiction to and residual effects of trauma increases. Trauma addiction may be a result of physiological and psychological processes that increase the need for exciting or dangerous activities. Residual impact of trauma may be the result of separating from police service, diminishing stimulation from police activities, and loss of social support from a cohesive police culture. The paper concludes with suggestions for therapy.
I found this read very interesting, specifically some of the references to "addiction to trauma." Thought it was worth sharing.
 
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From the article:
Gilmartin adds that police work often leads officers to perceive even mundane activities not from a neutral physiological resting phase, but from a state of hypervigilance, scanning the environment for threats. Once a hypervigilant perception set becomes a daily occurrence, officers alter their physiology daily without being exposed to any types of threatening events. Thus, officers may continuously be on a physiological "high" without stimulation.

I found this paragraph intresting, mainly because I've said it almost verbatum. My psy classes in college went into this by describing the amount of alcoholism and tobacco use by LE and other emergency workers. We use stimulants and depressants to try to replicate the experience of the 'event'. I can tell you there is no building I walk into without locating the exits, fire escape placard, and sometimes noticing cover and concealment. I don't like hotel rooms above the 3rd floor, it drives my wife nuts.

Then again, we actually experience these events that most people never live through. Dealing with casualties of a traumatic event changes you.
 
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I can totally relate to this back in the day, but I've been retired 15 years now and still operate at an elevated level of "hypervigilence" Although as I get older that seems to have decreased a bit. I never considered myself an adrenaline junkie and usually found that the "rush" was often more upsetting as the event didn't lend itself to actually needing the adrenaline. I was one of the odd ones as I didn't drink coffee or smoke. Diet Cokes, yes.
 
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wolf223

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the military has been doing pre-deployment and post-deployment "battle mind" training for a couple years now.

it's designed to help the troops recognize the signs of "adjustment" needed to get used to NOT being in the battle field....

i.e. "risk seeking behavior" how to react to common stressors ect... -it falls under the same lines. they get used to "watching their 6" for 9 to 12 months, come back and have to get used to cutting grass, loading the dishwasher, taking the kids to school ect...

throw an item that would normally piss the (us) off and they tend to snap... [wink]
 
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Work in a joint for a few years and see how f 'n happy you are most of the time. I think every line of s**t work has some sort of cause & effect .
 

GSG

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this whole trend of trying to make people "normal" again through therapy and counseling pisses me the f*ck off. normal is just like nice. it's subjective, and a tactic. it's not a character trait. "nice" and "normal" are ways that we disarm people. make them comfortable around us. get them to open up, and put us in a position to take advantage of them.
FWIW, the author of that article was a cop for quite some time, as are some of the other authors of studies he quoted. What I got from it wasn't that therapy will bring you back to normal, but something more in line with what you're saying, that the people who survive can benefit from help adjusting, despite being forever changed.
 
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