PTSD symptoms in first responders look a lot different than PTSD symptoms in sexual assault survivors.
These symptoms below are specific to PTSD among first responders.
- Intrusive memories, dreams, or flashbacks of a specific incident
- Refusing to talk about a traumatic event
- Losing interest in activities
- Avoiding places where a traumatic event occurred
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or low self-worth
- Distancing themselves from others
- Feeling tense or on-edge all the time
- Sleep disturbances
- Paranoia or overwhelming fear
- Irritability or aggressive outbursts
- Inability to focus
- Reduced work performance or missed days
- Increased alcohol or drug consumption
- Unreasonable reactions to average situations
- Risky, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior
First responders should also look out for one another and keep an eye on their coworkers.
If you’re a first responder, you understand the job better than an outsider.
Monitor your coworkers for any behavioral changes – don’t write it off and tell them to suck it up. Be supportive and reassuring: encourage coworkers to participate in counseling for first responders.