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Post Trumatic Stress And The Essay, Research Paper

It seems that the public never tires of watching and hearing stories of fictional police / correctional officers. But when it comes to the real lives of police/correctional officers, we need to look deep into what these police / correctional officers face in every day life. And how that posttraumatic stress is handled after an incident has occurred. But before we can look at the posttraumatic stress we need to look at the first step of the ladder, which would be stress.

Stress is defined as a response to a perceived threat, challenge, or change, physical and psychological response to any demand, or a state of psychological and physical arousal. Every human being has to deal with stress. Life without stress is impossible. While being most known for it s negative effects, stress also has a positive side. It motivates us, challenges us, and helps us change when change is needed (even if we don t want to change).

There are obviously different levels of stress, from minor to moderate, to severe and different perceptions as to the level of stress based on a person s perspective and personality. Stress can be acute (short-lived), chronic (experienced over a long period of time), accumulative (from a variety of sources over a period of time), delayed (buried internally for a period of time, resurfacing later in life).

Stress carries with it certain physical and psychological affects that occur at a level equivalent to the type of stress, and the level at which it is encountered. These physical and psychological affects are involuntary; meaning it is a natural uncontrollable physical and psychological reaction to an event(s) by our mind and body.

Now that we have explained the basis of stress we can now look at the posttraumatic stress disorder the police / correctional officers face in their every day lives.

Posttraumatic stress is a type of stress encountered at incidents that are, or perceived as, capable of causing serious injury or death. The person encountering the stress does not have to be the one whose life is threatened. This stress can also occur to witnesses. By its nature, posttraumatic stress is one of the worst types of stress a person can encounter. It is stress of a nature that is threatening to a person s survival. The psychological and physical reactions of our mind and body to post traumatic stress are at the extremes.

Examples of life threatening traumas that can cause post traumatic stress, in their general order of severity, include but are not limited to: natural disasters, serious accidents, intentional life threatening violence by another person, life threatening trauma caused by betrayal by a trusted individual, and life threatening trauma caused by betrayal by someone you depend on for survival.

Post traumatic stress disorder is a serious illness and is defined and diagnosed by certain symptoms a person exhibits. Its affects a person physically, mentally, and emotionally to the point it is life altering. The symptoms people with post traumatic stress disorder exhibit are extreme and typically adversely impact their lives everyday. To cope with these symptoms they may develop addictions. It can destroy their marriage and other relationships, and cause some of them to commit suicide. Post traumatic stress disorder is not some thing to be taken lightly.

Police / correctional officers, by the nature of their jobs, can be exposed to more stress and trauma in one day than many people will experience in a considerable period of time, maybe even their entire life. Some police / correctional officers thrive on stress. They seek out incidents that most people would not care to encounter in their lifetime. Many people seek out a job in the police / correctional field for the challenge and the personal reward it provides. Overcoming stress of great magnitude can provide great personal rewards, but these jobs can and do ruin many lives.

In these violent times any crime or accident can erupt into a dangerous confrontation. Who ever heard the term road rage ten years ago? Who ever thought saliva would become a potential weapon? The initials A.I.D.S. meant nothing. Latex gloves and eye protection have probably saved as many police / correctional officers as bullet proof vests and PR-24 self defense batons. Children with guns? Unheard of twenty years ago, the list goes on and on. How many small town police officers never carried their weapons off duty unless they ventured into the big city and are now armed when they take their family into the local pizza parlor?

Researchers have noted that on emergency services stress, estimates that at any given time fifteen to thirty two percent of all emergency responders will be dealing with a reaction to posttraumatic stress, and there is a thirty to sixty four percent chance that they will have a reaction to it during their lifetime.


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