If you are feeling suicidal or are even considering suicide as an option, please STOP! Make a phone call. Reach out to a friend. Talk to someone! A great resource is the Suicide Prevention Hotline. They are available 24/7 and can be contacted at 1-800-273-8255.

More information is available at: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org


 

The mission of the First Responder Support Network (FRSN) is to provide educational treatment programs to promote recovery from stress and critical incidents experienced by first responders and their families.

FRSN is a collaboration of first responder peers (included but not limited to police, fire, corrections, dispatch, and emergency medical services), SOS peers, culturally competent mental health clinicians, and chaplains; all of these individuals volunteer their time. We encourage you to contact us if you or someone you know is in need of assistance.

Website: http://www.frsn.org Phone: (415) 721-9789 | Email: wcpr2001@gmail.com


The California Peer Support Association (CPSA), a professional and educational organization, is dedicated to the advancement, promotion and enhancement of peer support and peer support programs for law enforcement, fire and allied emergency service personnel.

Their mission is to create a network of peer supporters in law enforcement, fire and allied emergency service professions. To increase and strengthen the number of peer support programs throughout California. To provide a basis for the development and maintenance of state-wide standards and procedures. To create awareness and support for peer support programs.

More information is available at https://californiapeersupport.wildapricot.org/


PTSD AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental anxiety disorder that develops after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic, tragic, terrifying or life-threatening event. People suffering from PTSD experience flashbacks to the traumatic event and a sensitivity to emotional or mental triggers that remind them of the experience, causing negative changes in their lifestyles and an inability to achieve normal goals or objectives. Events that lead to PTSD include war or military combat, accidents, physical or sexual assault, abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, bombings, and events in which individuals are injured. Among those with PTSD, co-occurring disorders are frequent, as high rates of combinations of depression and other anxiety disorders with substance addiction are usually found in these individuals.

DrugRehab.com is a web resource provided and funded by Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS). ARS is an integrated behavioral health care management organization dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health issues. We provide well-researched, fact-based resources on this site.

Need help now? Call their 24/7 confidential hotline 877-695-5395

More information is available at https://www.drugrehab.com/co-occurring-disorder/ptsd/


PTSD changes brain chemistry in much the same way substance abuse and addiction do. Often, these disorders form at the same time and feed off one another. The same trauma that caused PTSD can also trigger a substance use disorder.

Nearly three-quarters of those surviving violent or abusive trauma report alcohol use disorders.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Following a traumatic experience, the brain produces less endorphins, one of the chemicals that help us feel happy. People with PTSD may turn to alcohol and other mood-enhancing drugs, which increase endorphin levels. Over time, they may come to rely on drugs to relieve all of their feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability.

People with PTSD are more prone to violent outbursts and panic attacks, which can be difficult for family and friends to witness. Feelings of guilt over these outbursts can drive those with PTSD to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Continued use of alcohol or other drugs in this way can lead to an addiction.


As PTSD sufferers experience overwhelming feelings that are out of their control, they may try to exert greater control over their environment, including their diets. As Psychology Today theorizes, an eating disorder may also be a way for a person to recreate an abuse or trauma scenario by self-shaming or victimizing oneself through abnormal eating practices. In other words, the eating disorder becomes a way to relive the trauma, as a way of coping with that trauma.

Drug abuse is often a means of self-medicating for PTSD sufferers. The process of self-medication is never advisable. The danger of substance abuse is always that physical dependence and then addiction can form. In this way, a PTSD sufferer completely undermines their desire to cope; drug addiction, like PTSD, causes a loss of control over one’s mind and body.

The Recovery Village understands that although people may receive the same diagnosis, no two individuals are the same. Their team of expert mental health and addiction specialists work closely with each client to learn their personal history and to develop a specialized treatment plan for each person.

Visit for more information at https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/co-occurring-disorders/ptsd/

Call for a confidential, free assessment at 855.722.0419


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The On-Site Academy is a non-profit residential treatment and training center for critical incident stress management. We serve emergency service workers who are in distress. Our program is for all law enforcement, fire service, EMS, or other human service personnel who are themselves temporarily overwhelmed by the stress of their jobs, what they have seen, and what they have been through.

For more information, visit their site at http://onsiteacademy.org


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The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is a one-of-a-kind addiction treatment facility specializing in PTSD for IAFF members – and IAFF members only – who are struggling with addiction, PTSD other related behavioral health challenges to receive the help they need in taking the first steps toward recovery. It is a safe haven for members to talk with other members who have faced or overcome similar challenges.

For more information, visit their site at https://www.iaffrecoverycenter.com