Trauma-Focused Rehab for Police Officers

Law enforcement personnel risk their lives daily to protect and serve the people of their communities with optimism, in the hope their presence makes a difference, but they often don’t practice emotional self-care. Sometimes these first responders are also servicemen and servicewomen who’ve experienced war and then returned home with mental and emotional battle scars. Law enforcement members are frontline workers facing the sights and sounds of a different war — one with life-threatening situations they must return to every day. Gruesome crime scenes and stress from the administrative side of the job, on top of exposure to the drug trade, can lead many officers to abuse drugs or engage in excessive alcohol use. Some may even need to seek trauma-focused rehab for police officers.

What Are the Signs of Addiction in Police Officers?

It’s not often easy to discern if a person is abusing a substance until it has become a full-blown addiction. But there are signs that can indicate addiction, including physical and behavioral changes.

Physical changes you might notice include sudden weight loss or gain, burned/chapped lips, dilated pupils, and bodily tremors or shakes.

Police officers suffering from addiction may exhibit behavioral changes, such as:

  • Declining productivity or performance
  • Increasing absences
  • Making excuses
  • Missing shifts in a regular pattern
  • Never arriving on time
  • Withdrawing or isolating
  • Not getting along with other officers
  • Increasing mood changes
  • Acting belligerently
  • Starting arguments

Spotting these signs can help you know when to seek treatment.

When to Seek Treatment: Substance Use and Alcohol Abuse Addiction Rehab for Law Enforcement Officers

The very nature of a police officer’s job — a daily high-risk atmosphere with physical and emotional health effects — can result in psychological changes. The emotional demands and traumatic stress imposed on police officers can result in PTSD, which is “conveniently” solved with substance use or binge-drinking episodes. Ongoing substance use often leads to abuse, which leads to addiction. A person in the throes of addiction is seldom sober enough to recognize the adverse consequences of their actions. It often is a friend, family member, or another officer who notices. The right time to seek specialized treatment is at the first signs of addiction.

Helping Police Officers Suffering From Substance Abuse and Addiction

A police officer, by nature, is proud of the work they do. It’s this pride — and a desire to fix situations themselves — that often causes the officer to turn to substances as a quick remedy for their emotions. Once substance use becomes addiction, however, that pride can be replaced by stubborn determination and the idea they can handle it on their own without help from family members, peer support, or treatment centers.

More often than not, though, that isn’t the case. What further compounds the issue is that police officers in some precincts are required to go to standard departmental treatment facilities that don’t address the complexities of first responder traumas and substance use issues. Police officers need rehab for police officers.

Helping police officers with substance use, abuse, or addiction is different than helping the average person who’s addicted to substances because:

  • No two people are alike in their addictions, which is why treatments are designed to be unique to the individual.
  • Police officers with an addiction are also battling pride, mental health issues, extreme job stress, and job-related trauma.

Standard substance use and addiction treatment only address the addiction itself, whereas rehab for first responders:

  • Works on helping an officer resolve feelings of guilt
  • Includes therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Provides tools for anger management
  • Provides tools for stress management
  • Teaches officers how to cope with acts of violence

While knowing what rehab for police officers consists of is helpful, many officers want to know how the program works before agreeing to willfully attend.

How Does Substance Abuse Rehab for Police Officers Work?

Standard substance use and addiction recovery programs follow a typical formula (uniquely tailored to the needs of the addict) consisting of:

  • Intake assessment
  • Detox
  • Inpatient care
  • Outpatient care
  • Individual, group, and/or family therapy and counseling, or a combination
  • Aftercare program

First responder treatment includes these basics but is specifically designed to address the physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral needs of emergency responders.

While it shouldn’t deter anyone from seeking treatment, it’s important to verify certain things first, such as:

  • Can the police officer qualify for paid time off as granted by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
  • Does the insurance provider cover substance use or addiction recovery programs?
  • Does the officer need to use the referral service provided by police departments first before insurance will cover an inpatient program?
  • Does insurance cover residential recovery programs?

If your insurance doesn’t cover residential programs, ask about options for substance abuse treatment.

Steps in the Rehab for Police Officers Process

Here’s an outline of what you can expect:

  • Intake assessment. This assessment collects personal information about the officer, helps determine the extent of the addiction, and provides the officer with the treatment options available.
  • Detox. A detox session helps rid the officer’s body of all substances, as is a vital step for opioid addicts, alcoholics, and prescription medication abusers. This is only the first step — while it removes the toxins from the body, it doesn’t get to the heart of why the person abuses substances.
  • Treatment. An inpatient treatment program at a rehab for police officers is often the best course, but outpatient treatment is an option. Whether inpatient or outpatient, however, police officers require caring and compassionate addiction treatment specialists trained specifically in working with officers and other first responders.
  • Therapy. Rehab for police officers uses individual, group, and family therapy and counseling programs to help recovering officers address the underlying causes of their addictions. Group therapy is very helpful in this respect, especially in peer support groups where officers can see they’re not the only ones experiencing trauma.

Once treatment is complete, law enforcement officers commit to attending continued support groups and discuss the specifics of their aftercare program with their treatment specialist.

Help for Our Heroes: Help for Police and Law Enforcement Officials

Fighting a personal war of addiction while fighting crime is incredibly challenging. It takes unimaginable courage to overcome your pride and admit you need backup. Help For Our Heroes is a treatment program for all first responders. Our addiction recovery center in Delray Beach, Florida, has successfully treated many heroes in stressful, traumatic jobs like yours. We’re here to help you on your journey to recovery. Contact us here or call us at (866) 305-7134 to learn more about rehab for police officers.

Start a new journey!

For immediate help call us confidentially at (866) 305-7134. Our admissions specialists can answer all your questions, and put you on the road to recovery.

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