First Responders and Stress-related Disorders

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First responders can experience various mental health conditions triggered by stress and trauma because of their profession’s intense and relentless nature. Many first responders struggling with these symptoms could turn to different options to try and find relief or cope with flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. Some possibilities could be recreational drugs and alcohol. Drug use will only affect their baseline anxiety and increase their levels of paranoia. Paranoid individuals can help lower their measures of paranoia by deep breathing.

Paranoid Personality Disorder in first responders

Paranoid Personality Disorder in first responders is also a risk. People do not have to be personally threatened with death or violence to develop Paranoid Personality Disorder symptoms. Being a witness to violence and traumatic scenes can also trigger paranoid personality disorder in some individuals. This risk goes up for first responders since they will often repeatedly witness these types of situations. Paranoid Personality Disorder increases the chances of someone developing depression and a substance use disorder. They usually do not have proper assess to affordable therapy and higher use of recreational drugs.

Who are first responders?

A first responder is a person operating in a professional capacity who is often one of the first people to arrive in an emergency. These professionals are crucial for providing treatment and assistance to people under extreme duress. The following types of professionals and volunteers are first responders:

– Paramedics

– Firefighters

– Mental health workers

– Police officers

– EMS personnel

What are the signs of paranoid personality disorder in first responders?

Doctors can diagnose paranoid personality disorder when someone exhibits a cluster of symptoms for more than a month after they have experienced a traumatic event, either directly or as a witness. Some examples of traumatic events in health care professionals may experience include:

– Natural disasters

– Accidents

– Terrorism

– Extreme abuse and violence

– After-effects of wars and civil unrest

Sometimes, symptoms can take months to appear. The signs and symptoms of PTSD for anyone

are the same and include the following:

– Flashbacks and vivid memories of the event

– Nightmares about the trauma

– Intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts related to the trauma

– Panic attacks or anxiety when reminded of the trauma

– Avoidance behaviors

– Hypervigilance and jumpiness

– Loss of motivation and pessimism

– Social withdrawal

– Trouble concentrating or remembering things

 Feeling detached

– Engaging in self-destructive behaviors

Risk of Depression in First Responders

Depression is also a risk factor and can develop from a paranoid personality disorder in traumatized first responders. The triggers for depression are often specific to work-related stress and trauma. People may feel strongly tempted to hide their symptoms from other people. Internalizing painful and strong

feelings like these can trigger other distressing emotions that can trigger or worsen feelings of

depression. Untreated, prolonged episodes of depression with comorbid paranoid personality disorder can increase the risk of self-harm and suicide dramatically. Although these are serious issues, they are treatable with therapy, anti-psychotic drugs, and support groups. 

How Therapy and Support Groups Help

Talking to someone or going to therapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy is highly effective for treating both depression and symptoms of PTSD. When someone struggles with different mental health disorders or substance abuse and mental health, they have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis often requires a robust, integrated treatment program. Integrated treatment programs use specialists from different medical and therapeutic backgrounds to treat the patient as a team. This multidisciplinary team can include therapists and counselors, social workers, and physicians. Each specialist addresses the patient’s needs within their realm of expertise.

Isolation in First Responders

First responders who have been traumatized may feel isolated from the rest of the community. People struggling with mental health disorders may also feel stigmatized by society. It is easy for first responders with depression and trauma to isolate themselves from their social circle. Unfortunately, isolation can further feed symptoms of depression. For first responders specifically, joining a support group can help. They can share their experiences, progress, and concerns with a group of people who have walked in their shoes and are currently on the same path toward healing and recovery.

Can TMS help first responders with depression?

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive form of deep brain stimulation. The FDA has approved Neurofeedback treatment for depression. In some patients, medication does not have a noticeable impact on their depression symptoms, or the side effects of depression medications may be unpleasant. For these patients, Neurofeedback can help. During a Neurofeedback session, an electromagnetic coil is placed over the patient’s head and delivers intense pulses into the brain to stimulate neurotransmitters. With the help of Neurofeedback, depression symptoms are targeted and relieved. Neurofeedback is pain-free and does not require sedation. If you or a loved one are struggling with depression symptoms and PTSD, you may be a candidate for Neurofeedback.

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