PTSD, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout

Traumatic stress in the First Responder has some significant differences from that which is experienced by the military soldier or other trauma survivors. For the most part, the trauma a First Responder experiences generally is not a direct threat but comes from experiencing another’s trauma. For instance, when a police officer responds to a call involving child abuse and has to witness the physical and psychological effects from the child; or a paramedic has to inform a patient’s wife that he was not able to revive her husband, and she falls to her knees and cries out in anguish. Until the recent addition in the DSM 5 of this type of trauma, which is called vicarious trauma, was not con

Anxiety, Panic, and Depression

Anxiety is something that many fear; however, it is not as bad as most of us think. In fact, it is very necessary for our survival. Without anxiety, just as with fear, our species would not have survived. When we were in our more primitive state and attacked by a predator, it took the apprehension caused by fear and anxiety to get us to react automatically and either run for safety or fight off the predator. It is simply an activation of our limbic system, which regulates our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The physiology of anxiety and panic begins when a threat to our survival is perceived and our limbic system engages. The amygdala, which controls our emotions, is a

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