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Research Points to Effective Treatment for First Responder PTSD

August 31st, 2020 at 11:56 am

IL workers comp lawyer, IL PTSD attorney, First responders, including police officers, EMTs, and firefighters, experience dangerous, stressful, and traumatic situations on a regular basis during the course of their work, and psychiatric research shows that this comes with a greater risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, some studies indicate a PTSD prevalence of around 30 percent for first responders compared to a rate closer to 10 percent for the general population. Many first responders require mental health treatment for their PTSD, which can often be covered through workers’ compensation benefits.

A Four-Phase Treatment Process for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In a 2018 study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, researchers examined the effectiveness of a four-phase program for treating PTSD for first responders. The phases are:

  1. Diagnostic assessment: In this phase, mental health professionals seek to understand a patient’s symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks, substance abuse, and trouble sleeping, as well as the patient’s history, concurrent medical conditions, and ability to function. This allows for the development of a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs.
  2. Symptom stabilization and skills training: This phase can include inpatient care for patients at risk for self-harm, as well as training in self-care, safety planning, distress tolerance, resilience, and emotional regulation, which can help patients manage the symptoms of PTSD.
  3. Trauma-focused processing: In this phase, patients undergo treatments including cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure, which help them manage their reactions to stimuli associated with their traumatic experiences.
  4. Consolidation and aftercare: In this phase, patients focus on self-assessment and maintenance of their progress, as well as the management of new stressors in their work and the rebuilding of social and work relationships.

The researchers concluded that treatment throughout these phases often leads to positive strides for patients, but that the treatment of PTSD can be an ongoing process that requires long-term maintenance, and sometimes a return to an earlier phase.

Pursuing Compensation for PTSD Treatment

If you are a first responder coping with PTSD, you may find it reassuring to know that treatment is available. However, it is also important to ensure that you can cover the expenses of your treatment through workers’ compensation. An attorney can work with you to obtain testimony from mental health professionals, family members, and friends who can attest to the impact of PTSD on your life and your need for treatment so that you can present a strong case for the full amount you need.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, we know how much first responders give of themselves in service to their communities, and we want to help you get the treatment you need to maintain a high quality of life and continue performing your job to the best of your ability. Contact a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer today at 630-574-2288 to request a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6624844/#:~:text=EMDR%20has%20been%20studied%20as,with%20the%20first%2Dresponder%20population.

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