First responders include police, fire, and emergency medical technicians. These essential employees are the first to arrive when help is needed. The work they do can be quite demanding and stressful.
They are constantly exposed to various risks to their own health and well-being. They experience situations where they see people injured or even killed. They also work longer hours compared to other professions.
It is a combination of these factors that can lead to addiction in first responders. First responders who have dealt with traumatic experiences, like the death of a partner, can also develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Groups like military personnel and veterans have equally experienced many of the same situations as first responders and more. Depending on where they served and were deployed, they could have experienced war zones, been in a war, had to deal with confined quarters like in a submarine, and so on.
These different conditions and experiences can lead to addiction, as well as PTSD. It is not uncommon for people who are first responders, military, or veterans to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means to self-treat stress, anxiety, and PTSD.
The use of drugs or alcohol gradually goes through different stages as the body develops more resistance to the substance. Eventually, the person can become dependent on the substance. If they do not seek out addiction recovery programs, then their dependence can advance to full addiction.
Why Do These Groups Require Specialized Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers?
Many first responders, military members, and veterans have an underlying condition that led to their addiction. They might suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, or PTSD. The use of drugs or alcohol began as an attempt to self-medicate and treat the condition unsuccessfully and tends to lead to co-occurring conditions.
To treat co-occurring conditions, it is essential to seek treatment at dual diagnosis treatment centers. These addiction treatment facilities have the capability to treat physical and mental addiction to drugs or alcohol, as well as the underlying mental health or physical health condition.
Treatment would begin just like treating other people with substance abuse problems—detox. Detox is the vital first step in any treatment program. The substance must be removed from the body to address the physical addiction to it using controlled and medically supervised withdrawal.
After detox is completed, the next step would be to enroll in a treatment program to treat the mental addiction, as well as the co-occurring condition. Treatment at this stage often includes the use of group therapy, individual counseling, family counseling, nutritional counseling, and various therapies to help the person overcome their addiction.
Why Do These Groups Put Off Getting Help?
It is difficult for first responders, military members, and veterans to seek treatment or admit they have a problem. They are used to helping others and serving in respected roles and as leaders and taking care of people when they need help.
As such, they tend to put the needs of others above their own. They are not used to putting their needs above others. Therefore, it can take a while for someone in these groups to seek the help they need.
Plus, it can be very hard to take the first steps on the road to recovery. The person might feel embarrassed or like they have let their comrades down. Yet, by seeking help, they can take control of their lives and address their substance abuse and co-occurring conditions.
For further information about addiction recovery programs that also treat co-occurring conditions, please feel free to contact Adelante Recovery Center at (949) 427-9099 today! We are a dual diagnosis treatment center located in Orange County, Southern California with the goal of helping you get sober for good.