Addiction Treatment for First Responders in Georgia
First responders have higher-than-normal rates of addiction. These professionals provide life-saving services for others but often don’t know where to turn when they themselves are the ones in need of treatment for symptoms of addiction and mental health conditions.
Atlanta Recovery Place offers specialized addiction treatment for first responders in Georgia that includes dual diagnosis care for mental health disorders. Contact our Georgia recovery center today to learn more about how we can help you overcome addiction.
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Addiction Among First Responders
First responders can include police, paramedics, firefighters, and other professionals who face similar high-stress work environments. These professionals, as part of their jobs, may put their lives on the line and be exposed to tremendous trauma.
The use of drugs and alcohol among first responders can become a coping mechanism for this stress and trauma exposure, which is why rates of addiction tend to be higher in these job categories.
When someone is exposed to ongoing stress during the course of their job, it can lead to a nervous system that’s overworked and a sense of hypervigilance. Experiencing shock, tragedies, violence, and other things that can be part of the day-to-day life of a first responder can put someone at a greater risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with symptoms including fatigue, irritability, anger, isolation, detachment, and increased physical pain. It can also be associated with higher rates of alcohol and other substance use.
Along with what first responders might witness on the job, other factors can contribute to the development of substance use disorders, such as fatigue and working long hours. Some first responders might use stimulants to try and stay awake when working long shifts, or because of disrupted sleep patterns, they might begin to use substances to help them unwind. The brains and bodies of first responders are often dysregulated.
Another factor that can contribute to addiction among first responders is pain. These jobs have high injury rates, and that can lead to the use of opioids and other substances as a way to deal with pain.
There is often a stigma for first responders when it comes to discussing mental health, addiction, pain, or getting help. People working in these careers might feel like if they were to tell someone they were experiencing symptoms of addiction or a mental health disorder, it could affect their progression in their career, or it could make them appear weak or unable to do their jobs.
It’s estimated that around 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions. Along with PTSD, these also include depression and anxiety. People who work as firefighters, police officers, and other first responders have higher suicide rates too.
If you’re looking for Georgia first responder addiction treatment, Atlanta Recovery Place has flexible, specialized programs available. Addiction treatment for first responders in Georgia should be geared towards the unique needs of these professionals, who are putting their lives on the line every day.
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Symptoms of PTSD
One of the most common mental health disorders in first responders is PTSD, and it can develop with cumulative trauma over time, as well as exposure to a single traumatic or life-threatening event. Someone with PTSD might have disturbing and intense thoughts and feelings related to their experiences.
Symptoms a person with PTSD experiences can include nightmares, sadness, fear, flashbacks, and estrangement from other people. The symptoms are usually grouped into four categories, which include:
Thoughts that are intrusive can include flashbacks, involuntary memories, and dreams that a person finds distressing. Someone with PTSD could feel like they’re reliving traumatic experiences.
These symptoms can include avoiding any people, places, or things that remind someone of distressing memories. It’s common to avoid talking about the traumatic experience or trying to force oneself not to think about it.
A person with PTSD might have trouble remembering details of certain traumatic events, or they could blame themselves. Feelings might also include shame, guilt, and anger, or an inability to experience happiness or feelings of satisfaction.
Symptoms related to arousal and reactivity can include angry outbursts, extreme irritability, and self-destructive behavior. Being overly vigilant or startled and having sleep disturbances can also be symptoms of PTSD.
Addiction and PTSD are very much connected to one another. Individuals with PTSD are three times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Someone who is seeking PTSD treatment is 14 times more likely also to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder.
At Atlanta Recovery Place, we offer a first responders rehab program that speaks to mental health needs as well as the treatment of addiction. Addiction treatment for first responders needs to look at the needs of the person on a holistic level to be the most effective, which is what our team of expert providers offers.
Symptoms of Addiction in
The signs and symptoms of addiction in first responders are similar to other groups of people. When someone has an addiction, it’s defined as a chronic disease affecting the brain as well as behavior. Specific signs of addiction may include:
- Problems at home or work
- Loss of motivation and energy
- Being neglectful of one’s appearance
- Spending a lot of money on substances
- Always thinking about getting the next drink or dose of a substance
- Behaving in risky ways
- Withdrawal symptoms when cutting back or not using a substance
- Stealing or lying
- Compulsively using a substance despite known negative consequences
- Being defensive when asked about the substance
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Addiction Treatment for First Responders
Many first responders can’t participate in an inpatient treatment program for a variety of reasons. They might be unwilling or unable to leave their families or jobs during that period, for example. They might need a more flexible program offering addiction treatment for first responders.
At Atlanta Recovery Place, we offer addiction treatment for first responders in Georgia that meets their needs.
Our programs are available on an outpatient basis but with varying levels of intensity. Our addiction treatment for first responders in Georgia includes:
During a PHP, which is also known as partial day treatment, there’s an intensive level of structure, support, and care addressing the mental and physical aspects of substance misuse. At Atlanta Recovery Place, during a PHP, clients can receive treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and also medical care.
An IOP first responders rehab program is a step down in intensity from a PHP. During an IOP, clients participate in therapy and dual diagnosis treatment, and it can be a long-term approach to treatment with flexibility. You work through your program at your own pace while continuing to live your daily life.
Another option if you’re looking for a first responders’ rehab program in Georgia is a traditional outpatient program. Outpatient programs offer support and professional care, and therapy while you continue to live at home and meet outside responsibilities.
When appropriate for a client’s needs, sober living environments are available to help ensure that you have the coping mechanisms and support you need in your early days of recovery.
We encourage anyone seeking first responders’ drug rehab in Georgia to consider an evidence-based program at Atlanta Recovery Place. Please contact our team of addiction treatment specialists to learn more.