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First Responders, PTSD, and Addiction

First Responders, PTSD, and Addiction

While everyday people run away from trouble, first responders like firefighters, paramedics, and police officers run into the chaos to save lives and restore order.

This line of work often exposes workers to trauma, either through trauma inflicted upon the first responder or through witnessing a traumatic event. Experiencing trauma can lead to PTSD, and untreated PTSD can lead to additional struggles.

At Banyan Heartland, we offer support for first responders who are suffering from PTSD, addiction, and other disorders. With residential treatment in Illinois, healing is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD, addiction, or both, reach out for help today.

First Responders and PTSD

To understand the mechanisms behind the growing addiction struggles faced by first responders, we must first look at the links between first responders and PTSD. Experts estimate that 30% of first responders will develop behavioral health problems such as PTSD or depression. [1] 84% of first responders say they have experienced a traumatic event on the job. [2]

Experiencing a traumatic event doesn’t guarantee that a person will develop symptoms of PTSD, but other factors like depression can contribute to the condition. PTSD is a diagnosis for a cluster of mental health conditions that can form within months or years after a traumatic incident. [3] Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the event in flashbacks
  • Having nightmares about the event
  • Avoiding situations that are reminders of the trauma
  • Feeling on edge or high alert often
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities

PTSD and Addiction

There is a strong connection between first responders and addiction, 50% of those with PTSD also abuse alcohol. [4] The symptoms of PTSD can be overwhelming and if help is not sought, the person may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This leads to the added problem of addiction, which cannot be conquered without help from a center offering treatment for alcoholism and addiction.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help you or someone you love successfully treat PTSD and addiction.


  1. SAMHSA – First Responders
  2. University of Phoenix – Majority of First Responders Face Mental Health Challenges in the Workplace
  3. NIH – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  4. PTSD Alliance – PTSD and Addiction
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.