The unfortunate consequence of alcohol and
prescription medication use to self-medicate
pain is that the underlying trauma is not
treated, and another, new separate problem
We provide individual and group therapy for
first responders who are dealing with substance
abuse issues. Alcohol abuse, in particular is a
very common coping strategy that officers use to
quell the anxiety and depressive symptoms that
come as a result of exposure to cumulative as
well as critical incident stress. Research has
revealed that there is a significant correlation
between the development of substance abuse
disorders and trauma (Follette, et. al., 1998).
The negative consequences of substance abuse in
policing are obvious. Police work requires fast
reflexes and quick thinking. Excessive alcohol
consumption and hangover effects can impede
reaction time, cause slower cognitive and motor
processing, and even lead to aggressive
behavior, particularly in the presence of threat
(Lemon et al., 1993).
Regular 12 step/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
are met with resistance by many officers.
Officers complain that these meetings are
frequently comprised of people who are on
parole, probation, and/or have negative feelings
towards police officers. Since group support and
cohesion is essential to this form of treatment,
Alcoholics Anonymous for the general public has
not been as effective for police officers.
Because Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step
programs have been found to be highly effective,
our staff is dedicated to finding meetings
limited to first responders only.
Our office currently works with a former fire
fighter who runs a 12 step program for first
responders. These meetings are held in Long
Beach, California. Please call our office for
more information on this and other specialized
12 step meetings.
Mental health information and intervention
services can help prevent or reduce
posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide,
behavioral problems in employees, stress claims
and other issues.
Peer Support, or Trauma Support Teams are of
great value to police agencies. Many officer
feel more comfortable talking to their peers.