Detox For First Responders
First responders are some of the most important workers in the country. From police officers and other law enforcement specialists to firefighters and EMTs, first responders work diligently to keep communities safe and ensure that our society can function on a day-to-day basis. Without these brave men and women, citizens would have nowhere to turn in the event of an accident, natural disaster, or violent crime.
While it’s obvious that first responders are heroes who deserve high praise, it may not be as obvious that these men and women really struggle with the heavy burden we place on them. As a result, it is not uncommon for first responders to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other job-related issues.
We’re going to take a closer look at drug and alcohol detox for first responders to understand why they may need detox in the first place and how they can access quality detox in Wisconsin.
And remember, if you or someone you love is currently struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Midwest Detox for help.
The Challenges That First Responders Face That Lead To Addiction
It’s no secret that first responders have jobs that are extremely demanding by nature. While most jobs have varying degrees of pressure and stress, first responders have to deal with another level of challenges. Here are just some of the biggest challenges first responders face that can lead them to addiction:
- Daily Stress - To say that first responders have to deal with a lot of stress is a huge understatement. As the name implies, first responders are the people who are the first to respond to dangerous or volatile situations. From car accidents to shootings, first responders show up without hesitation to help keep people safe and minimize harm done to others. These situations are extremely stressful to everyone involved, but most people don’t have to deal with them every single day. First responders do. Like many high-stress jobs, first responders may feel the need to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the high levels of stress.
- Trauma - As much as 15% of first responders develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during their lives, with the highest occurrences among emergency personnel like EMTs.  Some estimates put the figure as high as 1 in every 3 first responders. This is because first responders have to deal with very traumatic situations almost every day. They may have to see dead bodies, talk with grieving families, or put themselves in harm's way to save others. Over time, repeated exposure to traumatic situations can cause PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that can lead to substance abuse.
- Poor Sleep - If you’re a first responder, you know that poor sleep can feel like a necessary part of the job. Many first responders work in “shifts” that can last for 24 hours or longer. This means that first responders have to deal with high-stress situations with little sleep, and potentially work for entire days or multiple days in a row without rest. Sadly, having irregular sleep patterns or frequent sleep disturbances can also lead to substance abuse.
- Physical Strain - Many first responders have to do a lot of physical work and even put their bodies in potentially dangerous situations. This can often lead to injuries that need to be managed with long-term treatment and pain medication. For example, one study found that roughly 70% of firefighters deal with chronic pain.  When many first responders have to continue working through the pain, they may begin to abuse pain medications, as well as alcohol or other drugs to cope with the issue.
- Easy Access - While it may not be applicable to all first responders, many have relatively easy access to drugs. EMTs and other emergency medical personnel often have access to pain medications and powerful drugs that would not be accessible to other people. Police offers may also do drug busts where they are exposed to illicit and addictive drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin. While having access to drugs does not guarantee that misuse will occur, it does increase the chances of substance abuse.
How Common Is First Responder Drug Or Alcohol Addiction?
Various studies have looked at the prevalence of substance abuse among first responders, and nearly every study has concluded that first responders have much higher rates of addiction than the general population. Among police officers, for example, addiction may affect roughly 1 in every 4.  While addiction rates tend to be slightly lower among other types of first responders, they are still quite high for anyone who must respond to emergency situations on a regular basis.
What First Responder Detox Is Like
First responder detox focuses on the needs that are common among first responders. If you’re a first responder and you’ve decided to check into detox, here’s what you should expect:
- Initial Assessment - A drug counseling professional will first analyze the severity of your condition and work with you to develop a comprehensive recovery plan. In many cases, first responders have to deal with co-occurring disorders. If this is the case for you, a dual diagnosis plan can address mental health issues and substance abuse at the same time.
- Medically-Supervised Detoxification - More than anything else, first responders with addiction need safe and medically-supervised detoxification. This ensures that they can cleanse their body of toxic substances and have constant support to help minimize withdrawal symptoms.
- Therapeutic Care - Since so many first responders experience trauma and deal with mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression, it’s necessary that detox for first responders includes therapeutic care and emotional support. This ensures that you leave detox with a better understanding of your situation and how your work and mental health could be affecting your sobriety.
- Skill Education - Addiction recovery doesn’t end when the withdrawal symptoms stop. The skills needed to continue recovery begin in detox, and a quality detox for first responders will have substance abuse counselors who can teach you the skills needed to cope with cravings and avoid relapse as you continue your recovery.
Addiction Treatment For First Responders At Midwest Detox
Are you a police officer, EMT, firefighter, or other first responder struggling with a substance use disorder? Are you looking for a comfortable, discreet, and professional detox clinic? Finally, do you want to find a clinic that can offer you a personalized plan that accounts for the difficulties and challenges you face at work? If so, Midwest Detox is the answer.
At Midwest Detox, we offer private accommodations with 24/7 monitoring to ensure your safety and comfort at all times. Our trained staff has the skills to minimize your withdrawal symptoms and help guide you through the first days of your recovery. We also have counselors ready to help you manage anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any other mental health concerns you may be facing. To get your recovery started out on the right foot, reach out to Midwest Detox today.
Are you in need of a private drug and alcohol detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.