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First Responders & PTSD

Photo by Ibrahim Mushan,

First responders and military veterans are a unique class of people in that they frequently face life or death circumstances that can cause vicarious trauma, and over time, full PTSD. In fact, a recent study by University of Phoenix found that one-third of first responders studied had been formally diagnosed with depression or PTSD. 85% of them had experienced mental health symptoms.

In recent years, a greater push toward trauma education and resiliency efforts has come about. Yet, a large percentage of first responders might be reluctant to even admit a problem, let alone seek out care for a mental health condition. Smaller departments might lack funding or resources to educate and follow up on trauma education.

TRE is a low-cost option for increasing resiliency and discharging stored fight/flight in the body. Unlike mental health counseling, TRE doesn't require that the person talk about or relive the problem in any detail. It can be done in complete privacy, as a part of a normal exercise routine, and is extremely cost effective or free. The biggest payout, however, is in how TRE effectively acts as a release valve for the body's nervous system, which for first responders, can be highly charged. TRE increases resiliency in the mind/body by lowering hyper-arousal (anxiety, panic, hyper-vigilance) and improving hypo-arousal (depression, fatigue, lack of interest) and social engagement. It has a direct effect on improving mental and physical health.

Care should be taken with TRE if someone has dissociated from prior trauma, or if they have coupled normal body tremors or shaking with an uncomfortable event. Humans are the only mammals who have been conditioned away from normal tremor discharge when under stress. Animals in the wild recover quickly from high stress events because they all use normal tremors to release tension and restore the body to "rest and digest" rather than stay stuck in fight or flight.

If you or someone you love is a military veteran or first responder, be on the lookout for these markers of depression and suicidal thinking:

-Withdrawing from family and friends

-Not attending social events 

-Drinking excessively or starting to drink alcohol

-Not eating or not eating well

-Becoming angry or frustrated for no reason

-Feeling low

Please, reach out for a counselor who is trained in treating first responders or try a session of TRE today!

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