First responders – fire fighters, police, paramedics, military and other emergency personnel – face a level of stress that few outside of the field can understand.
Firefighter substance abuse and alcoholism is a major problem in the fire service, with around 33% of the fire service suffering from some form of PTSD from traumatic events they witness on a daily basis. Approximately 52% of PTSD sufferers will go to substance abuse, leaving around 18% of all firefighters with an addiction of some sort.
Alcoholism and addiction are common for those who work in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), due to the trauma and stress faced every day on the job. Easy access to a variety of medications makes it very easy to fall into the downward spiral of abuse and addiction.
Police officers have an extremely difficult job. Not to mention the fact that they are in the public eye all the time. So you can see how alcoholism and substance abuse can be a problem. Many Law Enforcement officials have a big fear of coming forward with their problem for fear of losing their jobs.
Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, ER personnel and other first-responders traumatized by the violent or gruesome images and the stressful nature of their work still experience anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and other PTSD symptoms from the violent or gruesome images and events they were subjected to.