Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that most people associate with soldiers. However, it is one of the most common workplace injuries suffered by police officers nationwide, including in San Diego. While PTSD in soldiers typically follows one brief traumatic event, police officers experience stress every day, taking a heavy toll on them and their loved ones. Their conditions manifest gradually, and it is known as cumulative PTSD.
When single traumatic experiences are suffered, professional help is available to help officers in the aftermath of the event to deal with the trauma. However, hostage situations, fatal accidents, exposure to dangerous drugs during busts and other situations with which police officers have to deal on a daily basis cause trauma and stress that might go unnoticed. Even the victim might not recognize the early symptoms of PTSD, and leaving it untreated could have devastating consequences in which officers can become threats to themselves and others.
Many of the issues police officers deal with seem insignificant, but the accumulation of less stressful incidents is dangerous. These situations include the fact that they never know when the next call will come in, and with what they will have to deal. Further stress is caused by the fact that police officers have to make decisions in split seconds, knowing that their actions are frequently investigated, scrutinized and criticized.
Cumulative PTSD might be one of the most challenging workplace injuries with which police officers have to cope, and for some, it might mean the end of their careers. Treatment is available to help them deal with PTSD, but most need long-term therapy, which could be costly. San Diego officers who are unsure about their rights to workers’ compensation benefits could get answers from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer can assess their circumstances, answer questions and assist with the navigation of benefits claims.