Law enforcement officers, and other members of the first responder community, have a mission to protect and serve the lives of those who are placed in harm’s way. The immeasurable pressure to remain composed and diplomatic in moments of extreme stress can be too difficult for the average person to bear.
Law enforcement is a career far more complex than most people understand. It’s a job that mandates the LEO to serve in the center of other people’s crises – fights, domestic violence, shootings, fatal car accidents, oftentimes putting their own lives at risk. Decisions are often made in a split second and under highly intense situations. Such stress has consequences, and unfortunately, police officers are no less immune to substance abuse than the rest of society, as they seek to cope with the effects.
Police officers are also susceptible to incurring injury on the job. Addictive opioid prescriptions to relieve pain are often prescribed, and little follow-up to ensure that opioids are not used longer than appropriate have shown to spiral into a more serious problem.
While police officers can come home to their friends and family, many LEOs begin to feel the effects of their daily work. PTSD among police officers and other law enforcement members can be triggered in a multitude of ways. For many, key traumatizing events while on duty such as a shootout, a child’s death, or domestic assault can trigger a deeper reaction. For others, it can be a combination of repetitive events with the stress of demanding calls. The added pressure of police scandals and a negative spin from the media leads to pressure that can ultimately break even the toughest police officer.
There are approximately 900,000 sworn officers in the United States. According to studies, approximately 34 percent suffer symptoms associated with PTSD and SUD. Warriors Heart – a private treatment facility providing care for addiction and chemical dependency & PTSD for active military, veterans, law enforcement and first responders – recognize and understand the unique demands of LEO, and work to successfully navigate healing and recovery while in the company of people who personally understand each experience.
“Law enforcement is a job which requires you to be combat-ready, while maintaining the capacity to serve as a counselor, priest, lawyer or social worker all at once,” stated Warriors Heart Co-Founder, Tom Spooner. “Police officers and other law enforcement are often unwilling to seek help, fearing it will jeopardize their jobs or make them look weak. Or even deeper, many of the treatment programs or groups put them in the company of others who they may have dealt with in the past; putting them in an unsafe environment.”
In addition, police officers’ schedules can be grueling; often working rotating and overtime shifts, making it difficult to seek treatment. Warriors Heart provides a variety of channels where law enforcement officers can safely seek and receive help, while maintaining the anonymity their job requires. From their inpatient care facility, to virtual meetings, treatment is literally a click away.
“The recent demand on first responders’ schedules takes its toll, and leaves officers exhausted and feeling lost,” explains Spooner. “Our virtual meetings have provided an outlet for those who need to feel safe and understood. We have LEO who will call from their squad cars during a shift, just to feel less alone.”
Police officers today endure more stress than they did 30 years ago. Public scrutiny has increased while team camaraderie dissolves on a daily basis. They worry about political correctness and cultural diversity as well as negative publicity, budget cuts and layoffs. The rigors of the job, combined with the potential for PTSD, contribute to increased cases in substance abuse. These drugs often include marijuana, benzodiazepines and methamphetamine, with the most popular drugs of abuse being alcohol and opioids.
Treatment is a viable option for police officers experiencing addiction and PTSD. Treatment centers across the country, like Warriors Heart, offer comprehensive services catering to the specific needs of law enforcement professionals; providing various levels of care, including inpatient and outpatient treatment and support groups.
At Warriors Heart, Warriors in every walk of life are welcome, offering a variety of treatment for those undergoing the damaging effects of PTSD as well as chemical dependency. For those who have fought battles to defend our country and our citizens, fighting the battle against addiction and depression doesn’t need to be done alone.
We are here for you and we have been there before. Give us a call anytime at the number above, or reach out on our Form.