According to the American Addiction Centers, there are three common mental health challenges police officers often struggle with in their line of work. These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma-related disorders, and substance use disorders [Source: Medium]. Although not all officers may fall victim to one or more of these mental health issues, there is a good chance many do. Why? Well, let’s consider their line of work.
Not only are police officers called to the scene of car accidents where serious injuries or deaths occur, but they are also called to homicide, murder, and even suicide scenes. Aside from the disturbing things they may come across while performing their duties, they also are putting their life at risk. At any moment during a police officer’s shift, he or she could come in contact with a combative suspect who is looking to seek revenge on an officer, or they could encounter a person who isn’t afraid to threaten their life and safety.
Unfortunately, being exposed to all of this can take a toll on a police officer and cause him or her to suffer from one or more of the mental health issues highlighted above. So, aside from these issues affecting an officer’s wellbeing, how might these mental health challenges interfere with a police officer’s ability to carry out his or her duties in the proper manner or do they at all?
Let’s consider some of the symptoms of each of the issues and how they might affect an officer’s ability to perform.
- PTSD “is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event” [Source: National Institute of Mental Health]. Obviously, police officers experience these types of events on a regular basis. There are different types of symptoms a PTSD patient might experience one of which includes arousal and reactivity symptoms. Some examples of these include:
- Being easily startled.
- Feeling tense or “on edge.”
- Having difficulty sleeping.
- Having angry outbursts.
The NIMH also says that “arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events.” Therefore, if an officer is suffering from PTSD and they begin to experience one or more of the symptoms listed above, there is a chance that it could interfere with their ability to perform their duties properly.
- Trauma-Related Disorders. If an officer experiences something traumatic, while they may not develop PTSD, they could suffer from other issues like “anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and more.”
- Substance Use Disorders. The American Addiction Centers suggests that some officers may feel the need to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol to help deal with the emotions they feel from the various encounters they have while on duty as a cop. Could alcohol and/or drug abuse have an adverse effect on a situation involving an officer and a suspect? Perhaps so.
What if a police officer in San Diego, CA engages in an act of misconduct?
Unfortunately, the mental health challenges listed above along with other factors may be the reason why so many cases of police brutality are arising. In the event you are a victim of police misconduct, you are advised to contact a San Diego, CA police brutality attorney who can discuss with you the course of action you should take to address the issue. The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth is one firm that has been recognized for helping victims of police brutality and is available now to provide you with the support and legal assistance you might be seeking.
The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth has two offices in San Diego which are located at:
Mission Valley Office
1761 Hotel Court, Suite 250
San Diego, CA 92108
Scripps Ranch Office
11704 Petenwell Road
San Diego, CA 92131
Phone: (619) 691-8942 or (619)-567-7851
Email: [email protected]