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Cumulative PTSD is a reality in the lives of many police officers

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2017 | High Risk Occupations |

If you are a member of the police force in California, you might experience the lack of understanding by others of the stresses of your job. While most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder with soldiers, police officers suffer a different type of PTSD. Members of the military sometimes suffer a single traumatic event that causes PTSD while police officers experience various forms of trauma throughout every shift they work over years of service.

Although you may have access to counselors after a particularly severe event, stress build up over the course of many years, often going untreated. Your job might expose you to dangerous drug busts, hostage situations, fatal accidents and other incidents in which you witness severe injuries and death. Many may not realize that even long hours, negative attitudes of the public and anticipating the trauma that may come with the next call can cause stress and trauma. This is known as Cumulative PTSD.

Physical signs of cumulative PTSD

There are physical, behavioral and emotional signs that may indicate an overload of stress and trauma. The following are signs of PTSD, and although people do not often associate the individual symptoms with this illness, a combination of several can indicate PTSD:

  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitation
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Twitches
  • Grinding of teeth
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Diarrhea and intestinal issues

Behavioral signs of cumulative PTSD

You may not even realize that you show changes in your behavior, but your loved ones and friends may notice some of the following changes:

  • Anti-social behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Increased consumption of alcohol or developing a dependency on another substance
  • Suspicion and paranoia

Emotional signs of cumulative PTSD

Along with the above, your life may also become filled with the following emotions:

  • Panic and anxiety
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anger outbursts
  • Apprehension

Not many people realize that the training you received as a recruit when you joined the police force could not even closely prepare you for the stress and trauma you would experience from day to day. You may be in need of extensive emotional counseling to help you deal with cumulative stress and trauma. Fortunately, outpatient and inpatient services for trauma therapy treatment are available to help police officers and, when necessary, even their families.

However, obtaining financial assistance through the California workers’ compensation program might be challenging. This is typically the case with occupational illnesses that develop over time. If you have cumulative PTSD, you might need the support and guidance of legal counsel to significantly increase your odds of receiving the benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.