Emergency Personnel: Trauma and PTSD

Just seeing Horror and Gore Causes Trauma

Seeing horrific scenes and gore is a category of trauma that affects so many first responders such as EMT’s, policemen, and firefighters, many of whom suffer from trauma and PTSD. (They’ll probably deny this, so ask their spouses.)

trauma, EMT, PTSD, healing from trauma, help healing trauma, PTSD treatment, Somatic ExperiencingThese frontline heroes may try to mentally compartmentalize what they have seen, but the brain etches the scene in its memory and replays it along with the body sensations that followed–shock, revulsion, disgust–in dreams and flashbacks. It’s as if the brain records the scene in hopes of avoiding the same fate.

Or if not experiencing the above, the body will numb itself so it doesn’t feel anything. This is called the freeze. Its signs are lack of vitality, dull eyes, a blank facial expression, flat emotions, lack of connection to family and friends. People caught in the freeze don’t really live life. But this, too, is trauma and PTSD.

It is a serious problem for emergency personnel.

The good news is that it is treatable. In fact, all the people above would do well to regularly have trauma work done on themselves whenever they see something horrific. I suggest looking into Somatic Experiencing, a very gentle, effective way to deal with these types of trauma.

If you have seen horrible things in helping others, try having a session of SE regarding your issue and see if it doesn’t get better immediately. A good practitioner can even teach you how to trauma-proof yourself for future events.

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One Response to Emergency Personnel: Trauma and PTSD

  1. Jim says:

    I can’t even imagine what emergency response personnel have to put up with on a day-to-day basis. And to live with the ongoing cumulative memories of everything they’ve witnessed. I know that – for myself – I limit my exposure to negative and violent television and movies. And still, some of those fake images persist . . .

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