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


PTSD: Not Just for Veterans


PTSD: Not Just for Veterans

By Jessica Burgess

While you may have heard about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before, you may have only heard it associated with veterans and war events. The truth is, anyone of any age can suffer from PTSD if they have witnessed or experienced a scary event. Every year, about 5.2 million Americans suffer from PTSD. Some events that might trigger PTSD include:

  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Combat
  • A violent crime
  • A plane crash or car accident
  • A natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or fire
  • Or any life-threatening event

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Lack of trust in others
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Avoidance of places or things that remind you of the event
  • Being on the lookout for danger constantly

On average, PTSD starts about 3 months after the event but some people do not have signs until years later. The length of recovery also varies with some recovering in 6 months and others taking much longer to recover. The best way to treat PTSD is to talk to your mental health professional.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Real Illness (NIH Publication No. 00-4675). Bethesda, MD; U.S. Government Printing Office.