PTSD Can Attack Years Later
Even With No Previous Symptoms
EDITORS NOTE:This article has been graciously provided by Allen R. Kates, BCECR, MFAW the Author of CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think,
I feel sick. I can’t do this anymore.”
Can you develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) months or even years after a traumatic event like 9/11? Without showing any previous symptoms?
There are studies of World War II veterans and victims of motor vehicle accidents that say Yes.
This phenomenon is called “delayed onset PTSD,” according to the therapist’s diagnostic bible known as the DSM-IV-TR. It states that symptoms first appear at least six months after the traumatic event. That could mean months or even years later.
Yet some mental health professionals argue that the individual must have had symptoms early on, but didn’t recognize them. They also suggest that the PTSD sufferer delayed getting help for months or years, not that the PTSD itself was delayed.
Nevertheless, many law enforcement officers with no obvious previous symptoms do develop PTSD months or even years after a traumatic event.
As an example of delayed onset PTSD, here is the story of a police officer that developed the disorder five years after 9/11 and what he did about it… Continue reading
EDITORS NOTE: Law enforcement cannot function effectively without the support of the family members who stand behind our professionals, and our police families might be the best “early warning system” for when our officers are suffering in silence. This article was provided by guest contributor Dea Bridge who has been married to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for over 25 years, worked in Corrections, served as a volunteer Reserve Police Officer.
Law Enforcement is truly a family affair!
Society is routinely exposed to the mass media’s version of law enforcement via movies, cop shows, or news reports. These Hollywood depictions are the only frames of reference the general public has for how individuals in this line of work should behave or how they think. It’s no wonder many civilians (non-LEOs) have a skewed perception of the challenges faced by LEOs and their families. While some have a more tailored glimpse of “cop life” based on personal relationships or past experiences, the majority has no realistic basis for their interpretations. For simplicity sake in this article, Law Enforcement Officers will be collectively referred to as LEOs and also include Corrections Officers. It should be noted that agency support staff, Dispatchers in particular, and other types of emergency service workers (Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics) face many of the same challenges as LEOs. This grouping is not meant to minimize the trials faced by any one category, but rather to highlight the commonalities among people who strive to make our communities a better place to live.
Resources aimed at helping LEOs cope with the unique rigors of their professions are more abundant now than at any other time in history. To a lesser degree, but increasing, is information specifically designed to aid family member’s with their own set of challenges. Organizational attitudes of… Continue reading
Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to this profession of law enforcement.
There has been a lot of turmoil in the media about law enforcement lately, and much of it is based on lack of information, misinformation and ignorance. This is the perfect time for those in law enforcement to rededicate ourselves to our profession.
It’s easy for people to misunderstand issues about the police and law enforcement when they are uninformed and under educated. It’s our job to inform them.
The vast majority of the citizens in our communities support law enforcement and understand the complexities we face, but they are the quiet majority.
We must work with our community groups to properly educate them about law enforcement training and operations. Then when we need their support for more personnel, more equipment or more… Continue reading
I believe that all of us in law enforcement need to determine how to strengthen and condition ourselves to endure the rigors of our career in law enforcement.
One way to start to do that is to discover what your most important beliefs are as a law enforcement professional. One such statement of belief is the personal credo.
I’ve always liked the credo expressed by John Wayne’s character in the movie The Shootist: “I will not be wronged, I will not be insulted and I will not be laid a hand upon. I don’t do these things to others and I require the same from them.”
That credo says more about what he won’t tolerate rather than what he believes in, but it is all food for thought as you decide what you believe in.
To Protect and To Serve
You may recognize this motto that has in it’s simplicity been adopted by most of the law enforcement personnel around the world but it has it’s roots with the Los Angeles Police Department here in the United States. This famous motto was the winning entry submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobeck for a contest held by LAPD as published in their internal BEAT magazine in February 1955.
“To Protect and to Serve” became the official motto of the LAPD Police Academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department. Today that agency motto is recognized, and has been adopted, by many agencies around the world. Source: http://www.lapdonline.org/history_of_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1128 Web accessed 5-12-14.
THE CREDO PROJECT is a special educational initiative of the Police Chaplain Project dedicated to unlocking the power of CREDO in daily life.
Over the past year, Rabbi Cary Friedman (author of Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement) and Phillip LeConte, co-founder of the Police Chaplain Project, have sought out members of the law enforcement community who… Continue reading
During this season of sacred and religious holidays around the globe police officers everywhere need your prayers and support.
I attended a prayer vigil this morning outside Denver General Hospital in support of Denver Police Officer John Adsit. Officer Adsit, a nine year veteran of the department, along with three other Denver PD officers where injured while riding bicycle patrol to escort a group of Denver East High School students who wanted to protest the Grand Jury verdict on the police shooting in Ferguson Missouri that took the life of Michael Brown.
The four Denver officers were escorting a group of approx. 500 high school students who were marching down a busy Denver street in protest of the Ferguson Grand Jury’s acquittal of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. All four bike officers were hit by a vehicle that went out of control after the driver suffered a medical emergency. Three of the officers were treated and released from the hospital but Officer Adsit is still in critical condition over two weeks after being hit by the vehicle. He has undergone numerous surgeries and has been battling infection and pneumonia.
Please support the men and women of the Denver Police Department and the Adsit family as they pray for the quick recovery of Officer John Adsit.
I raise this issue for two reasons. First, this officer and his family need your prayers and secondly the citizens of the United States need to recognize that this officer was injured protected the rights of people who were protesting against the police. I’m sure when he recovers Officer Adsit would do it all over again. That’s because he is just one of hundreds of thousands of heroes that serve their communities around the world in the role of law enforcement… Continue reading
At the Law Enforcement Survival Institutewe define “Blue Trauma Syndrome” as a spectrum of negative physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health-effects manifested by a career in law enforcement. Blue trauma syndrome most certainly has it’s roots in large or cumulative doses of negative occupational stress and manifests many negative physiological, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms.
Stress makes for an interesting enemy. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it and most times you can’t even describe it. But it is there, and it attacks us every day. We must defend ourselves and armor ourselves from it’s effects otherwise a careers worth of battle fatigue will overtake all of us. I know that I am speaking in generalities here but I think a proper amount of introspection will reveal this is true for the vast majority of us.
Now you can read all the research that’s out there (and there isn’t enough) on the effect stress has on law enforcement officers but it still doesn’t give us enough information about what stresses will get to us. Part of the problem is because the same stress will affect each officer differently and it’s… Continue reading
Today is PTSD Awareness Day and its time for those of us in law enforcement to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and take a stance on how we will preserve and maintain our mental health and resilience in the face of a very toxic career.
Today’s the day and June is PTSD Awareness Month and we encourage you to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) not only to help yourself but your peers and the family members who need you by visiting the website for the National Center for PTSD which is run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
What are you doing to raise awareness about PTSD in your agency?
Isn’t it time that we in law enforcement take our own step toward understanding this issue and openly talking about it in our roll-calls and other agency meetings. You can download our CopsAlive Roll-Call training guide on PTSD byCLICKING HERE or keep reading to learn about the many resources being made available by the National Center for PTSD.