If you are struggling with suicidal feelings, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.

Many first responders struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to traumatic emergency response situations. Addiction and mental health issues often have a direct relationship with one another as co-occurring conditions.

Anniversaries of tragic events are known triggers for people with PTSD and depression. For many first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the anniversary of the tragic event can trigger PTSD and substance use to cope.

People who experience depression or PTSD may use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate, which can result in destructive behavior, disruption with job performance, trouble with loved ones, severe health complications and death. Individuals who experience trauma often use substances to:

  • Fall asleep to due disruptive sleep patterns caused by PTSD
  • Avoid traumatic memories or flashbacks
  • Forget about problems
  • Deal with mood disturbances caused by PTSD
  • Numb emotions

Substance use disorders and PTSD often coexist, and can be treated more-effectively as a dual diagnosis. People suffering from PTSD might have flashbacks and relive the event repeatedly. They may avoid certain places or people and can be easily startled and have angry outbursts. According to an article for Healthday News (2018) by Serena Gordon, new research suggests PTSD may put 9/11 first responders’ hearts at increased risk for heart and stroke.

The CDC stated in 2012 that more than 60,000 people worked on the rescue and recovery effort in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This includes volunteers with no prior training and experienced police officers and firefighters. According to study senior author, Dr. Alfredo Morabia, “PTSD’s link with heart attack and stroke should be taken into consideration when untrained first responders are sent to respond to catastrophes of different types.” Mental health is particularly important to study in the context of disasters, because often in such events as 9/11, loved ones are lost suddenly, horrifically, and unexpectedly.

It can be difficult to ask for help. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health condition and substance use disorder or addiction, do not wait another day. Get help now. Mental health conditions, such as PTSD with co-occurring substance use disorder are treatable and recovery is possible.

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, get help now. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment and encompasses holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul with a focus on staying active and connected to nature. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: 310-881-9151

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