A job in law enforcement can be very challenging and somewhat stressful. Police, firefighters, and other emergency responders often witness and experience traumatic moments, life-and-death situations, loss and reunification, anger and reconciliation, and a gamut of human experience and emotion… all before lunch break. While these strong professionals are highly trained to respond to emergency situations, these experiences can take an emotional and physical toll over time.
Sometimes, drug or alcohol use can provide a small relief from the stresses related to police work. However, just like any other citizen, police officers and other emergency responders may also experience addiction, substance dependence, and consequences of unhealthy coping behaviors. After all, addiction does not discriminate. When addiction impacts police professionals, however, the fear of being caught or facing the stigma of addiction can be great.
Addiction Among Police Professionals
Officer.com notes that addiction and substance use disorders often remain underreported among police officers. There are cases of addiction among police officers that have reached public news outlets or become the subject of television shows, but evidence shows that substance use among police officers is similar to rates among adults in other professions.
Police Offers and Drug Addiction: The Stress of the Job
What we do know is that being a police officer means that you regularly come into contact with the ugliest parts of life. The things that most of us can avoid most of the time are a daily occurrence for a police officer. Though admission to the job requires a great deal of psychological, mental and physical testing, repeated exposure to the things that human beings do to each other when at their worst can take an emotional toll. When dealing with murder, child abuse, domestic violence and assault on a regular basis, it stands to reason that alcoholism or drug abuse and addiction may become a factor for some.
Further, many police officers are former military officers or military personnel. Programs such as Veteran’s Administration On-The-Job-Training (OJT) program make transitioning into law enforcement a natural choice after serving the country. Military service is a noble career, but both active duty and police work expose soldiers and officers to many high-stress and potentially traumatic situations. All of these pressures and experiences can lead to increased physical and mental stress-related conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Because most people would do nearly anything to escape intrusive and consistent stress and memories of trauma, PTSD and other anxiety and trauma-related ailments show a high correlation with substance use.
Police Officers and Drug Addiction Treatment
Ultimately, the existence of addiction means that treatment is necessary. Targeted recovery treatment that respects the privacy and uniqueness of each police officer can and does save lives. It is important to seek a treatment program that understands the stresses that police officers and emergency responders experience daily. Further, a quality treatment program should offer personalized treatment plans that address underlying conditions and causes that led to substance use.
There are a variety of different types of treatment available to police officers and they are encouraged to get help before their work performance suffers.
If a police officer has not yet had any complications on the job or suspensions due to behavior under the influence or drug possession, then an outpatient program may be a good start. In this way, he or she can keep up at work while still getting the treatment they need. In all other cases, inpatient drug rehab is recommended.
It is possible to heal from substance addiction. If you would like to learn more drug and alcohol treatment for yourself or someone you care about, contact Michael’s House today. We respect your privacy and confidentiality. Our experienced recovery professionals are here to take your call, seven days a week.