The Effects of PTSD on First Responders

Being a First Responder

I’m Brian Ricci, a workers’ compensation attorney serving Greenville and the rest of North Carolina. First responders often encounter conditions in which people are in the worst situations they can be in. These can include incidents such as the aftermaths of deadly and violent crimes, natural or man-made disasters, vehicle accidents and more. First responders repeatedly place themselves in life-threatening situations and endure trauma after trauma during the course of performing their duties.

Individuals who work in emergency services and endure work-related trauma often develop stress reactions that help them to do their job properly. However, these reactions cannot simply disappear and can even worsen overtime if the underlying causes are not properly addressed. Being repeatedly exposed to such scenarios can begin to affect how well first responders are able to interact with the rest of the world.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an unfortunate reality for individuals who work as first responders and can qualify as a work-related injury and the basis of a workers’ compensation claim. First responders who reside in Greenville, North Carolina, or any of the other neighboring communities in Pitt Country should consider their legal options if they can no longer sufficiently perform their job duties because of the effects of PTSD.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by experiencing or observing a traumatic event. Usually the condition is not diagnosed unless an individual has had the symptoms for at least one month, is significantly distressed and there is a noticeable, negative impact on his or her home or work life.

Symptoms of PTSD

In addition to the biological changes that PTSD can cause in the human body, it can also result in a variety of psychological symptoms as well. The tendency of PTSD sufferers to develop additional mental and physical disorders makes it a complicated psychiatric condition to have.

First responders may not begin having PTSD symptoms until months and even years after a traumatic event occurred. When they do emerge, the behaviors first responders may exhibit may accumulate over time in three stages:

  • The first symptoms generally involve reliving an ordeal in some manner when confronted with a reminder of the event or when thinking about the trauma while they are trying to do something else.
  • The second stage of symptoms involves some form of isolation and avoiding the people, locations or items that remind them of the traumatic event.
  • The third stage symptoms center around being constantly on edge and excessive reactions.

Typical PTSD symptoms may include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Flashbacks
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Difficulty with concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive feelings of guilt
  • Drugs or alcohol abuse
  • Paranoia
  • Emotional detachment

The Impact of PTSD

First responders with PTSD symptoms may lack the ability to function properly in their daily lives and may seek out unhealthy ways to cope. PTSD can impact the sufferer’s life by contributing to:

  • Marital issues that may result in divorce
  • Occupational instability
  • Suicide
  • Difficulties with parenting
  • Family conflict

When it is developed as a result of performing one’s job duties, PTSD is no different than any other work related injury. First responders with PTSD should seek legal counsel for assistance with obtaining the workers’ compensation or personal injury settlement to which they may be entitled.

Greenville, NC Workers’ Compensation Attorney

I’m Brian Ricci, a workers’ compensation lawyer at the Ricci Law Firm; if you live in Greenville, North Carolina and the surrounding areas of Pitt County, we will be glad to represent your case. We will not only help in filing a lawsuit and representing you in the courts, but we will also advise and enlighten you on issues revolving PTSD workers’ comp claims and ensure the insurance company does not shun its obligations.

If you need our help, contact us today to get an appointment for a free consultation at (252) 777-2222 or (888) 484-6881 for free, friendly advice. Let us fight your battle.