1. #1
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    Question Questions & Thoughts about PTSD

    Since having been diagnosed with PTSD after an accident while on duty I have been trying to find some information on the topic. Is it just me or is the subject of PTSD kind of a taboo subject? Seems as if the firefighting world can discuss just about anything else but....

    I can use any help here if anyone has some gome current information or websites...

    Maybe we can start the conversation about it here again?


    esse quam videri,
    nemo

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemofightsfire View Post

    I can use any help here if anyone has some gome current information or websites...

    Maybe we can start the conversation about it here again?


    esse quam videri,
    nemo
    What sort of information are you hoping to find... what do you need?

    Nick

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    Default Good basic PTSD book

    A great book to give you an overview of PTSD -- how it affects you physically, what brain chemicals are involved, what symptoms you can expect, and a lot about what you can do to cure it or at least to greatly alleviate the symptoms -- is the horribly named "Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal" by Belleruth Naparstek.

    It isn't written in "medicalese", is pretty recent, and covers a wide range of the treatment options, from drug options to traditional therapy to the newer (and more effective and often faster "alphabet" treatments. There's a very useful reference list of other sites in the back.

    You can find it at www.healthjourneys.com if your bookshop doesn't have it. I got my copy very quickly.

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    Default To Nick

    Nick,

    not really what I need and where to start... This is incredibly difficult.

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    Default About PTSD

    What do I want to know? What am I hoping for? Well thats there word there!
    HOPE!
    There can be no way that in the service we do that PTSD and other related areas can be so forgotten. Spoken or written about so littlle.
    We ought to pool our resources and provide information instantly about ASD,PTSD, fears, and how they are reflected in homes and communities.

    Is there anyone else out here who is dealing with this?

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    Thank you! I appreciate your help.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nemofightsfire View Post
    What do I want to know? What am I hoping for? Well thats there word there!
    HOPE!
    There can be no way that in the service we do that PTSD and other related areas can be so forgotten. Spoken or written about so littlle.
    We ought to pool our resources and provide information instantly about ASD,PTSD, fears, and how they are reflected in homes and communities.

    Is there anyone else out here who is dealing with this?
    After your "incident", did you attend a CISD? I suspect that this is where you were diagnosed with PTSD. I have been to a couple of debriefings. And to my knowledge, I don't know of too many that would discuss anything about their problems outside their department. I believe that it would be highly risky to try and get any kind of closer from an Internet forum. I strongly suggest that if you are indeed having issues after a "special incident", that you should seek professional help.
    Last edited by THEFIRENUT; 08-01-2008 at 05:14 AM. Reason: Computer Reboots @ 0300 (network thing)
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    Default Mr. The firenut,

    Thank you for your response.

    In regards to my incident, I did not attend a CISD. A person cannot be diagnosed with anything at a CISD. There can be many steps in a CISD. But to be diagnosed with PTSD one has to undergo tests (DAPS) and meet all the requirements of the certain illness, and then determine if it acute vs chronic, and then its severity. This test is given and evaluated by a professional such as a phychiatrist or psychologist.

    CISD is SO very important but not directly related.

    The reason I am concerned about the topic of PTSD is that I know that in our business this disease goes without treatment or therapy. And accepted as a normal part of the job or even a rite of passage.

    Thank you again for responding, I look forward to more discussion,
    nemo
    esse quam videri~

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    Default CISM isn't therapy

    I hope nobody is getting "diagnosed" with PTSD or anything else at a CISD... debriefings are *peer* support, not therapy or counseling. Only a therapist should be making psych diagnoses.

    I guess I forget often that there can be a lot of stigma associated with PTSD. I reality, I have no doubt that anybody who works as a first responder for any length of time has some degree of PTSD. You wouldn't be human if you didn't -- trauma sticks with us, though it varies from person to person.

    PTSD is a spectrum, from mild to severe. And it can be present without interfering with our lives most of the time.

    CISM can help prevent or lessen PTSD, but it isn't treatment or diagnosis. If therapy talk has crept into debriefings, it's time to re-train, I think.

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    Default Now we are talking!!!!

    Narnette,

    Exactly right. CISD/CISM are not diagnostic in nature. They serve to help reset the part of the brain that deals with stress, memory, and other physical stressors.

    My hope is starting this conversation was due to my frustration in finding assistane from others in the fire service. It as if PTSD is such a taboo subject. We dare not discuss it! But my question is this - - - IS PTSD all that different from those diseases and illnesses that were taboo just several years ago? Take for instance different forms of cancer would NEVER be dicussed in mixed company. And now we have instituitions dedicated to hopes of raising awareness and funds to hopefully eradicate this disease.

    There are studies that show even today that firefighters have a higher rate of PTSD than those who serve in the armed services.

    I believe that if we TRULY wanted to take care of our own, then we would provide more PTSD support.

    At the very least we could form support groups such as AA and others.

    I am just glad to see conversation about the subject!

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    Default Support groups

    Funny that you mention AA... I'm sure that a lot of 12-step programs, including AA, are doing PTSD support, at least indirectly. Alcohol, drugs, food, sex, codependence... they're all things that often accompany PTSD.

    The great thing about 12-step programs, I think, is that they have strong traditions that keep the environment safe. That's huge with PTSD, since we're dealing with the problem of not feeling safe!

    I'd be curious to hear others' thoughts on how much, if any, stigma, is attached to being identified with PTSD. On our CISM team, we talk about the fact that everybody has a "backpack" of trauma, stuff you'll always carry with you. You can lighten the load, help each other carry it, but it is always there and every critical incident adds to it. Maybe that's our subtle way of saying that *everybody* who is a first responder, unless they are very new or very lucky, has some degree of PTSD, regardless of whether or not it is to a degree where a therapist would diagnose it. My opinion is that we wouldn't be human if we didn't carry it with us.

    It is very clear that the more trauma you endure, the more susceptible you are to chronic PTSD. The Iraq war is showing that, all too clearly. Perhaps the fact that we're going to have about a million vets with varying degrees of PTSD in our country means that we'll have to figure out how to de-stigmatize it. We're hoping to work with our first responder CISM teams around here to train vets to support each other.

    Nick

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    I've been involved with The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation - http://www.icisf.org/ - on both sides of the fence. They deal primarily in education & training, but they can certainly refer you to appropriate intervention, materials, etc.

    Personnel in my area expressed the same concerns as others when this was first introduced more than twenty years ago, but it has been a blessing, and never a sword, to all participants. I've been on the "debriefing" side as well as the "debriefed" side, and assure you that emotions are expressed at times to the point of exhaustion, and I've never heard of any repercussions.

    On a side note, I see "Esse Quam Videri" ("To be, rather than to seem" - NC's state motto) at the bottom of your post. If you're in NC, as I am, you may wish to contact the NC Highway Patrol. They have their own CISD teams, and may also be another source for you.

    I wish you the best.

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    There are several books by an author named Aphrodite Matsakis that deals specifically with PTSD, especially in first responders. You can also find more information on my website: http://www.firefighterministries.org...ealth/PTSD.htm

    I hope you are finding the treatment that you are needing.

    Wendy Norris
    Master Chaplain/Instructor, Federation of Fire Chaplains

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