People are sometimes able to recover from acute stress of this nature using their own coping skills and support from friends and family. However if a month has passed since the event and the First Responder is still experiencing significant distress, this may signal Post-traumatic Stress Disorder which without help is likely to become both chronic and disabling.
To complicate matters, many first responders see themselves as “tough” professionals who shouldn’t be vulnerable to emotional stress. Some may hide behind humor or substance abuse rather than admit they’re suffering from PTSD.
PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. By recognising PTSD and seeking treatment First Responders can heal and get back to the important jobs they’re passionate about.
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