Can I Be A Cop With Ptsd
Being a police officer is a tough job, where you deal with stress every day and put your life on the line. But when you also have post-traumatic stress disorder, working as a cop can be almost insurmountably difficult for some people. Whether or not you can be a cop while suffering from PTSD depends on where you’re working and the severity of your symptoms.
Tip : Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves. If theres any way you can rebuild your loved ones sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.
Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that youre here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.
Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply being there for the person.
Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.
Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that youre trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say youre going to do.
Emphasize your loved ones strengths. Tell your loved one you believe theyre capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.
Talking To Your Loved One About Ptsd Triggers
Ask your loved one about things theyve done in the past to respond to a trigger that seemed to help . Then come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.
Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. Youll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.
How to help someone having a flashback or panic attack
During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if theyre detached from their own body. Anything you can do to ground them will help.
- Tell your loved one theyre having a flashback and that even though it feels real, the event is not actually happening again.
- Help remind them of their surroundings .
- Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths .
- Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them.
- Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence.
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Pinpoint Your Strengths And Interests
Once you’ve identified your triggers and conscientiously worked to minimize symptoms, there’s one more thing worth considering to put yourself in the best position for a job identify your skill sets and interests!
Even if you’ve identified the perfect work environment given your PTSD, none of that matters if you can’t perform the job well and don’t care to.
Yes, your options are limited but still try to avoid jobs which you know you’d hate from day one. It won’t help your PTSD and probably will cause you more stress.
Do Your Research Including Talking To Others
Tanisha Ranger, PsyD, is a psychologist who has helped many patients decide whether or not to bring up their mental health issues with their boss. She says, It is extremely important that you know who you work for, and what the laws are, concerning mental illness in the workplaceIn some instances, it may be in your best interest to just make sure to have the appropriate Family Medical Leave Act paperwork on file with the HR department so that you can be absent from work when you absolutely need to be. There may be ways to tailor your environment that do not require you to disclose your diagnoses.
Wright also explains that for those of us who work for companies with 15 or more employees, the American Disabilities Act requires the company to provide reasonable accommodations if you ask for them and so, in that case, advocating for yourself and your needs is important.
Make sure that youre well-informed about your rights when entering this conversation. It may be useful to first talk to a friend who has gone through a similar process, or a colleague who you trust, or an HR representative. Gather the information and support that you need to feel confident when approaching your boss.
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Available Treatments For Ptsd
Currently, there is no cure PTSD, but patients have a wide variety of treatment options to help manage their condition. However, these treatments can vary in their effectiveness, and doctors may sometimes recommend a combination of treatments. Common treatments for PTSD include:
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
How To Identify Ptsd In The Workplace
People with this condition may show various symptoms at work. Here are some of the most common ones to help you to identify anyone in your team suffering from PTSD:
- Memory problems, and difficulty retaining information.
- Lack of concentration on tasks.
- Fear and anxiety.
- Unreasonable reactions to situations that trigger memories.
- Panic attacks.
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Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Sexual harassment is another behavior that can lead to work PTSD. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, asking a coworker for sexual favors, or making comments of a sexual nature. An individual who experiences sexual harassment may be afraid to report it, because they fear losing their job if the harasser is a manager or supervisor.
Get A Mental Health Evaluation
To get workers compensation for PTSD, you will need to have a mental health evaluation from a licensed mental health professional. This can be a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker. The evaluator will need to determine if you meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD and document this in a report. If you have been involved in a traumatic event at work, it is essential to seek mental health assistance as soon as possible. Many people who experience trauma do not have symptoms of PTSD immediately following the event. It is not uncommon for symptoms to develop weeks or even months later.
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How Can Ptsd Affect Your Career
Everyday work can get the calmest of people wound up. But for people with PTSD, work can be a particularly stressful experience. For example, meetings may cause you to feel trapped and on guard. Plus, many work environments may put you in close proximity to loud or unexpected noises. For people with PTSD, this can cause what is called the hyperactive startle reflex and can cause you to practically jump out of your skin in response to a loud noise.
Two other big problems are issues with sleeping and concentrating. If you have PTSD you may find that you are in a heightened state of arousal a lot of the time, always looking around for a potential danger. This can often lead to problems with concentrating and falling asleep at night. These problems will affect your attention and productivity at work, often leading to more stress and pressure at work.
On top of all the issues when you are working, you have the small matter of looking for a job in the first place. Looking for a job when you have PTSD can be extremely tough, as you may want to avoid being around some people, or in some places, and you may struggle to motivate yourself.
Prepare What You Want To Say Ahead Of Time
Its important to remember that you have a right to your privacy and only need to reveal as much information as you want to share. Mental Health Works shares suggestions for language you can use, as well as a script that you can use as a starting point for your own conversation:
When deciding how to describe your mental health need or mental illness you can use:
- General termsa disability, a medical condition, an illness
- Vague but more specific termsa biochemical imbalance, a neurological problem, a brain disorder
- Specifically referring to mental illnessa mental illness, a mental health problem, a mental disorder, a psychiatric disorder, a psychiatric disability, an anxiety disorder
- Your diagnosisschizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, panic disorder
I have that I am recovering from. I can still do the things that are required by my job . It helps if I have . I work best when .
You could also add the following information: Sometimes you might see . When you see that, you can . If you are concerned about me, you can call .
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What Are Traumatic Events
Trauma arises from an event or circumstances a person experiences as harmful, either physically or emotionally, and/or life-threatening. What constitutes a traumatic event is somewhat subjectiveits all about how a person experiences the event.4 For example, one person may be involved in a severe collision and not emerge from it with lasting trauma, while another person may develop PTSD.
Examples of traumatic events commonly associated with PTSD include:5,6
- Sexual assault.
- Natural disasters, such as earthquakes or tornadoes.
- Being involved in, or witnessing, a severe vehicle collision.
- Being a victim of, or witnessing, other a crime.
People do not have to be directly involved in these events as stated above. One can witness, hear about, read about, or learn about such events happening to others who are close to the individual. Even simply being exposed to news of a horrific event on the television can cause PTSD in some people.6 It is difficult to predict just who will suffer PTSD after a trauma they experienced directly or indirectly. We do know, however, that certain professions have a higher risk of exposure to traumatic events, which could lead to PTSD.7
If you or someone you know needs help dealing with suicidal thoughts, help is available 24/7.
Veterans can also utilize the Veteran Crisis Line via text 838255 or via online chat with a crisis counselor.
Ptsd Symptoms And Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder , or post-traumatic stress injury , is an anxiety disorder that usually occurs after a person has been involved in a traumatic event, such as military combat, sexual assault, childhood abuse, a severe car accident, or a natural disaster. Those with PTSD commonly experience nightmares, flashbacks, or panic attacks that seriously interfere with everyday life. Some people will think obsessively about their past trauma, while others will become emotionally numb and avoid thinking about it at all costs. PTSD is also commonly characterized by:
- feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or shame
- difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- anger and irritability
- trouble sleeping, and
- excessive anxiety or fear.
While almost all people who live through a trauma will experience some degree of shock or fear as a result, those with PTSD have long-lasting, severe symptoms that tend to worsen over time if left untreated. Treatment for PTSD often includes some combination of medication, counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or psychotherapy.
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Managing Work Life With Ptsd
The symptoms of PTSD can be severe or debilitating. For some people living with PTSD, maintaining a job and other responsibilities is often difficult. Symptoms, such as low mood, memory loss and avoiding triggers, can make focusing on your career a challenge. Others are able to continue with their job and function well in their workplace. They may have milder symptoms or have developed a level of control over displaying their emotions to others.
However severe or mild your condition, the careers available to you should not be limited by a PTSD diagnosis.
What Workplace Ptsd Looks Like
Symptoms of PTSD can manifest in both physical symptoms and in mental health problems that show themselves at home and at work. And while cases of post-traumatic stress disorder can look different in different people, experts said there are some common symptoms that can make performing the functions of their jobs challenging for employees.âWorkplace PTSD can manifest as chronic anxiety, hyper-reactivity, exhaustion, depression, emotional numbing, self-isolation, sleep difficulties, lack of focus, irritability, negativity, avoidance of work, intrusive thoughts, self-blame, and blaming of others,â Manly said. While some of the effects are noticeable to coworkers, many times the conditionâs symptoms or the coping strategies used to deal with it arenât obvious to those around the sufferer. Workers trying to manage their own PTSD may be reliving the traumatic experience or experiences with flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts they may feel numb or detached, or be self-isolating or avoiding certain places, people, or situations to avoid triggers or they may be experiencing sleeplessness, nightmares, irritability, or being constantly in a state of heightened emotional arousal. PTSD can result in a âchange of personality,â Kellerman said, with a âchange in performance, physical health complaints, social withdrawal, absenteeism, erratic behaviors, increased conflict in the workplace, and an increase in substance use.â
Finding A Job With Ptsd
Firstly, it’s important to understand the symptoms you are suffering from when you have PTSD. This is important regardless of whether the impact is at home or at work, since understanding your symptoms is the first step to managing them. Make sure you have as much information about PTSD as possible, read as much as you can about it. Then keep track of the different symptoms that you suffer from, write them down and monitor them. This can help you understand the symptoms you suffer from and what triggers them, which can help you decide what kind of career to focus on.
The next step is to make shortlist of jobs which you think will be best for you, both in terms of your skills and your situation. For example, if you are suffering from a lot of flashbacks you may want to avoid jobs where safety issues may be a concern.
Some people decide that they do not want to tell their prospective employer that they have PTSD. If you are one of those people, that is fine – you have no obligation to disclose the fact that you have PTSD. However, if you do decide to disclose the information to them, they are not allowed to discriminate against you on unreasonable grounds. One positive to disclosing the information is that you may find it easier to get support, if you need it, when you return to work.
Best Jobs For People With Ptsd
Searching for a job in this market is hard enough without suffering from PTSD. Still, there are opportunities available if you know how to look for them. In this article, I uncover ways to find jobs for people with PTSD and list a number of jobs and work conditions that meet the criteria.
While there are certainly some jobs that might be considered “PTSD-friendly,” most of them would probably do you more harm than good and I point these out too.
First, let’s lay some groundwork and briefly discuss what PTSD is and how it hinders so many from working regular jobs.
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Ptsd And The Ssa Blue Book
The SSA Blue Book includes a list of qualifying medical and mental illness impairments. This listing contains medical criteria that applies to how they evaluate impairments when determining disability benefits.
According to the SSA, the disorder is characterized by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event and the psychological aftermath of clinically significant effects on functioning. Examples of symptoms and signs of PTSD may include:
- Distressing memories
- Dreams and flashbacks related to the trauma or stressor
- Avoidant behavior
- Diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- Persistent negative emotional states
- Persistent inability to experience positive emotions
- Anxiety or irritability
- Aggression or exaggerated startle response
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbance
If your PTSD is severe enough that prevents you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Do you need help applying for disability?Contact us today.
Does This Make Ptsd A Career Death Sentence
With all of the problems you can face, it’s no surprise that many people do not relish returning to work with PTSD, or struggle to stay in work when they do return. But PTSD is most certainly not a career death sentence, with the right preparation for working life and the right support you can find and enjoy a very rewarding career.
I know there may be times where it doesn’t feel like it is possible, but you can move on and enjoy life after PTSD you may just need a bit help along the way. Being employed with a company who are supportive will help you when things get tough at work.
Make sure you know when to ask for help…this is vital whether it is help from your family, friends, employers or a qualified professional. If things are getting too tough, make sure you take the time out and talk to someone.
Above all, remember that there are real benefits from getting back into the workforce …even when you have PTSD, including:
- a sense of purpose and goals
- increased social inclusion
- a sense of belonging and involvement
- structure and consistency to the day and week
Follow David Penman for quirky and intelligent articles on resume writing, job interview techniques and career strategy for candidates who seek a uniquely competitive edge. Next Job Now is a leading ADF career transition provider.
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