First Responders Cope with Trauma & PTSD Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-Informed Care

What is considered to be Trauma or PTSD?

Trauma occurs when a person’s psyche or mind is adversely affected after encountering a psychologically rattling experience. The traumatic encounter may have long lasting ramifications that affect a person’s life, thoughts, work, and/or their personal relationships.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder develops after a person has been exposed to a traumatic event. Trauma and PTSD go hand-in-hand, but not every person dealing with trauma develops PTSD.

People who work in high-stress and high-intensity environments, like EMTs, military personnel, and first responders, are often exposed to severely traumatic events that may trigger PTSD, although anyone may be affected by trauma and PTSD.

How do you know if you have PTSD?

PTSD is generally diagnosed by doctors and specialists who have a history of treating mental illness (such as psychiatrists and psychologists). PTSD may occur soon after one has been involved in or witnessed a traumatic event (a few months or so), but may also take time (even years) to manifest itself.

The trademark symptoms of PTSD are avoidance, re-experience, reactivity, and mood symptoms such as:

  • Avoidance: This symptom involves staying away from places, people, and things that may resemble or remind the affected person of the incident.
  • Re-experience: These symptoms include the development of flashbacks or other reminders of the actual traumatic situation.
  • Reactivity: Arousal and reactivity symptoms typically are incessant. These may include startling easily, insomnia, constant stress and anger.
  • Cognitive Effects: People with this symptom may dissociate and feel extremely lonely. Activities they once enjoyed may not seem as fun. Unjust feelings of guilt or blame may circulate their thoughts.

How does someone recover from PTSD?

Treatments such as medication or therapy are recommended for those dealing with PTSD. Therapists often use a variety of methods to help people cope with their own particular trauma, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) has been shown to help first responders recover from trauma and PTSD. A cognitive behavioral therapy approach can be catered to and individualized for each first responder that has dealt with a racking experience. CBT is often selected because each one-on-one therapy session is designed to address a specific symptom or problem the PTSD patient is dealing with at that time.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help First Responders?

Doing trauma work may take a while depending on each individual case. A first responder can work through his or her trauma and PTSD with a therapist specializing in CBT. CBT may help these individuals learn alternative coping mechanisms that are productive and lead them to a happier and healthier life.

CBT identifies and localizes the origin of the individual’s thinking or way of life that has been altered or damage since the advent of the traumatic incident. Because CBT sessions are typically only once a week, patients often receive homework for them to complete on their own time. This leads to a more sustainable way to healing and recovery.

If you’ve experienced trauma and are suffering from PTSD, know there is a path to healing. You are not alone, there are people who can guide you and help you fully heal and recover.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.

Reach out to us today at 888-743-0490 to speak confidentially with an addiction counselor, or contact us online.