Depression manifests itself differently in every individual but as a whole it can affect one's ability to work, sleep, eat and enjoy once pleasurable activities.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AMONG FIRST RESPONDERS
By Mark Lamplugh
Everyone else is running away from the fire, but you"re charging right into it. Gunfire rings out in a crowded store and people scatter, but you run toward the sound of the shots. You are the bravest among us--first responders facing danger to keep others safe. But who is looking out for you and your emotional wellbeing?
While most of society deals with the fight or flight response on a rather limited basis, for first responders like police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel it can happen on almost a daily basis. The psychological toll that prolonged stress takes on first responders varies widely, but can often be long-lasting and come in the form of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression manifests itself differently in every individual but as a whole it can affect ones ability to work, sleep, eat and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Symptoms of depression can include:
First responders are often at a greater risk of suffering from depression than other professions because of both the nature of their jobs and the culture in which they operate. The whole "suck-it-up tough guy" image of first responders can hinder individuals who are suffering in silence to get the help they need.
Resources are available for those who may be suffering and not know where to turn for help. Admitting there may be an issue is the first step. Talking to a supervisor or chaplain about these issues can also facilitate the healing process. To address the growing need for behavioral health support and resources, American Addiction Centers has created a program aimed at helping law enforcement officers and their families. This dedicated hotline is available at 1.855.99.POLICE (765423). Additionally, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has launched Share the Load, a support program for firefighters and EMS. As part of that program, the NVFC has partnered with American Addiction Centers to create the Fire/EMS Helpline, a free, confidential helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist firefighters, EMTs and their families. Callers receive compassionate, non-judgmental support for a variety of behavioral health issues, such as PTSD, addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, relationship issues, or other issues affecting their work or personal life. The helpline is available at 1-888-731-FIRE (3473).
Mark Lamplugh is a former fire captain with Lower Chichester Fire Company. Originally posted at http://blog.americanaddictioncenters.org/depression-among-first-responders/
Article from fireenginering @ fireenginering.com
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a long period of time. Depression affects about 19 million Americans annually. It is estimated to contribute to half of all suicides. About 5%-10% of women and 2%-5% of men will experience at least one major depressive episode during their adult life. Depression affects people of all races, incomes, ages, and ethnic and religious backgrounds, but it is three to five times more common in the elderly than in young people.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There is no single cause of major depression.
There is no single cause of major depression. Psychological, biological and environmental factors may all contribute to its development. Whatever the specific causes of depression, scientific research has firmly established that major depression is a biological, medical illness.
A number of factors can play a role in depression:
Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
Extreme difficulty concentrating
Fatigue and lack of energy
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt
Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed (such as sex)
Thoughts of death or suicide
Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, rather than as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Use of alcohol or illegal substances may be more likely to occur.
Even Medicines that you take for other problems could cause or worsen depression, check with your doctor.
Types of help (See also Types of Counseling)
•Fava M, Cassano P. Mood disorders: Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusette General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 29.
•American Psychiatric Association. Practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. 2nd ed. September 2007. Accessed January 22, 2010.
•Little A. Treatment-resistant depression. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80:167-172. [PubMed: 19621857]