When you consider the constant onslaught of stress, trauma and danger experienced by first responders, it shouldn’t be too surprising that many of them turn to substance use to help cope. Roughly 40% of EMTs have issues with drug or alcohol use. One in four police officers has a drinking problem. More than a third of firefighters struggle with alcohol or painkiller misuse. Nurses, public safety officials, dispatchers and others involved with this kind of work are also at an increased risk of trouble with substance use. Here are some signs that you might need treatment and what you should look for in a rehabilitation program.
Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Dependency
Drug and alcohol misuse can lead to changes in behavior like:
- Lack of concern over negative effects of use
- Inability to stop using
- Hiding use (completely or lying about the amount being used)
- Loss of interest in other activities or hobbies
You may also notice physical changes such as:
- Sudden changes in weight
- Poor physical condition or hygiene
- Bloodshot eyes
Withdrawal symptoms are also a sign of dependency issues and may include:
- Nausea or vomiting
PTSD, Stress and Anxiety Require Treatment
When you’re ready to seek help for drug or alcohol issues, it’s important to consider the reasons why you started using in the first place. Make sure you choose a rehabilitation program that will address complicating factors like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other psychological injuries. When these conditions are combined with substance misuse, they are called co-occurring disorders. Treating only part of the problem leads to much higher relapse rates.
Personalized Substance Use Treatment for First Responders
No two people are alike. That’s why you should choose a rehab facility that offers personalized treatment that focuses on you as an individual. There are a number of therapy models that can be used to treat your conditions, and you deserve a compassionate team that will work with you to develop your very own recovery plan. Some therapies that have been shown to be particularly effective for first responders include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Family and couple counseling
- Critical incident stress management
- Psychodrama Therapy
- Creative programs (music and art)
Substance Use Programs for First Responders in Palmdale, CA
The First Responder Wellness Program at Cycles of Change Recovery is here for you. We offer personalized treatment plans that are tailored to meet your unique needs. You will meet with a compassionate team of specialists who has extensive experience working with first responders. Together, you can work on healthier coping strategies for the daily stresses that your career provides and find the road to recovery. Take that first step towards healing and contact our team for a private consultation today.