PTSD in First Responders

By Jillian Hoff

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is extremely common among first responders. This is because of their high exposure rate to traumatic incidents. Some of the common signs and symptoms for PTSD include flashbacks or dreams about the incident, losing interest in activities, refusing to talk about the event and sleep disturbances. Most first responders do tend to avoid seeking treatment for their PTSD. This typically is because of the stigma that surrounds mental health in general. These individuals might feel as though people will see them as weak for seeking the help they need, which is not the case. Often times when the individual does not treat their PTSD it will worsen, which since first responders do not get to just stop working makes their symptoms even worse.

Some ways that first responders can help their PTSD would be to have a support system. This especially could be the people who were also there during the traumatic event, this way they can talk about what happened and how it made them feel with an individual who was also there.  To gain positive coping strategies, it could be extremely helpful to engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This could help the person manage some of their stress that relates to the incident. Most importantly, the person needs to remember why they love being a first responder and all the positives that come from their job. While the negative times within this profession can be hard to handle, it is important to remember all the good that comes from what first responders do.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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