Addiction is usually thought of as a condition that only affects the weak of mind or those with a lack of self-esteem. It’s not. It’s a disease. One which may affect even your dearest loved ones. Addiction is not bias with its affected audience. And, it can even shockingly affect those which we deem as heroic. Police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are all humans with incredible strength and willpower. They are individuals who are overworked and underpaid just to make sure that lives are saved in the gravest and most severe situations. They even save the lives of overdosing addicted individuals every day. But, unfortunately, addiction does not care if a person is a first responder in a time of crisis. And, all too well, these heroic individuals fall prey to the predator that is addiction. So, to help these brave individuals who have helped so many before them, we have developed a first responder program, aimed to discreetly aid these individuals in detoxing, treating, and healing from their active addictions.

Underlying Causes of Addiction for First Responders

Undoubtedly, first responders witness scenes and have to make life-or-death decisions that the everyday individual will never have to make. And, when the wrong decision is made or they arrive just a few minutes too late, the result can be devastating. More often than not, the cause of a developed addiction is the result of underlying conditions such as mental health issues. And, to deal with these mental health issues, individuals struggling with such use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. What was once a method of taming mental illness rapidly becomes a life-altering dependence, and quitting alone becomes extremely challenging.

Most first responders who seek help through addiction treatment suffer from the mental disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, almost half of all addiction treatment patients, whether first responder or not, suffer from PTSD according to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health. This condition is developed as a result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, much like first responders have to deal with just to earn a paycheck and save lives. Those suffering from PTSD may experience symptoms of:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble focusing
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Survivor’s remorse
  • Neglect and avoidance of responsibilities and interests

Treatment for PTSD and Addiction with a First Responder Program

Because addiction is most commonly tied to PTSD in first responders struggling with drug dependence, it’s important that treatment includes programs for both mental health and addiction recovery. This is called a dual diagnosis. By treating only one condition, an individual is at high risk for relapse because they almost always enable each other. By treating both, individuals have the best chance for success at long-term recovery and to obtain true long-lasting healing. At The Discovery Institute, we offer a first responder program specifically designed to help these individuals identify the underlying causes of their addictions so that life free from addiction is gained.

The Need for Treatment

It’s unfortunate, but first responders suffering from PTSD and addiction simultaneously are more prone to suicide. Dealing with the effects of trauma can bring about debilitating symptoms that can impair individuals from performing even the simplest of daily tasks. It’s no wonder that these individuals reach out to the comfort of drugs or alcohol. But, developing addiction and adding that to PTSD is even more dangerous. Fortunately, treatment is effective in helping both the symptoms of PTSD and addiction and remission from both IS POSSIBLE.

Deciding to Utilize a First Responder Program

We understand that as a first responder, you have a reputation to uphold. By choosing a first responder program, you are choosing a path which is designed to suit your needs as a first responder. Additionally, you are utilizing a service which understands and accepts your need and desire for treatment confidentiality. This, in turn, can provide you and your family with comfort while you work on obtaining the recovery you need from a drug or alcohol addiction. The only step that you need to take now is getting the help you need! If you would like to learn more about our first responder program at The Discovery Institute, please visit our website for more information or give us a call today at 888-616-7177.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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