Post traumatic stress disorder can occur if you witness or are subject to severe trauma. As a Police Officer, you will attend calls where violence has, or is about to erupt.

These calls include, but are not limited to: car accidents, industrial accidents, robberies, sexual assaults, murder.

Can you imagine going to a call where a mother has thrown her newborn baby out a window of a 10 storey building because it was crying too loudly?

Or going to a home where the father has murdered the entire family with a knife because the "voices told him to?"

What if you are walking the beat and come across a gun point robbery right in front of you?

What if you shoot him? What if you kill him?

Attending these calls on a constant basis and seeing the damage caused can basically, "screw with your mind."

It's likely that you would be affected by this, although everyone is different. Not everyone will suffer PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has many symptoms, but they can be classified into these 3 categories:

- Reliving the specific traumatic experience

- Refusal to acknowledge memories, events, or anything related to the trauma

- Increased anxiety and expectation for tragedy/trauma

Police Officers often times unknowingly develop a warped sense of humor. They may make comments that others would find inappropriate, or make jokes even in the most horrible situation.

The Officer is using humor as a defence mechanism in an attempt to combat the stress.

If you are constantly bombarded by images of pain and carnage, you must develop a way to prevent it from getting to you.

Humor is one way of doing this, although many citizens will not understand or appreciate this.

Police Departments have counselling/assistance programs to assist officers who are dealing with emotional problems.

As far as I know, visitations with the counsellors are confidential and information is not supposed to be disclosed to anyone else in the Department unless it is believed that you could pose a danger to others.

If you one day suffer from PTSD, it is advisable that you seek help. Check into the Department program to determine how they handle personal information on this level.

I like to believe that officers can be open about problems that they are having without fear of how their colleagues will treat them, but unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Just be sure that whoever you talk to, and whoever you seek out for help is someone that you trust.

Regardless, the MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO GET HELP. Don't let this slowly destroy your life.

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