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First Responders, the Military, and Emergency Medical Personnel

Law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters, and members of the armed forces, although brave and courageous, are not immune to the effects of trauma. Being on high alert and facing life threatening circumstances repeatedly can take its toll. Over the course of their careers, police, paramedics, firefighters and the military don't just live through a single trauma. First responders and the military are routinely exposed to the most traumatic moment of people's lives, and are often in danger themselves.

They are exposed to highly stressful events in the course of their routine jobs. Having no control over the volume of calls, having to continue responding to calls after a disturbing experience adds to the stress. Long hours, shift work, emergency calls and overtime add to the physical stress and the toll that trauma exposure can take on these intrepid people who keep the rest of us safe. Often police, firefighters and the military face helpless situations such as a rescue gone wrong, witnessing a child being killed, having a partner or peer wounded or even killed in the line duty, or even the suicide of a friend.

Being at grave risk of injury in the line of duty themselves is terribly stressful, as is responding to a call for help from a victim who is known to the responder. All these careers have as a routine part of the job witnessing horrifying events. Working without the support of the administration or being investigated for one's actions can add immensely to the stress.

Post-traumatic stress was originally discovered in those coming home from war. Symptoms include hyperarousal such as anxiety, difficulty concentrating, inability to make decisions, flashbacks, anger, and difficulty sleeping which may include nightmares. One can also experience hypoarousal symptoms like difficulty communicating, feeling numb or depressed. Sometimes first responders and members of the military turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with the effects of their long term exposure to danger and trauma. This solution can make symptoms worse over time and cause a secondary problem, addiction, that is just as debilitating as the original problem.

And so, sometimes the hero needs help. Dr. Lubell employs EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to treat post-traumatic stress. EMDR is the most researched and widely accepted treatment for post-traumatic stress. People are often able to recover from Acute Stress Disorder by employing their own coping skills and support of family and friends. Struggling alone is rarely successful. If a month has passed since the event and you are still experiencing distress, this can be a sign that you may be suffering from PTSD. EMDR is an effective and fast acting therapy for PTSD. Dr. Lubell, using EMDR, can help you feel like yourself again, both at work and at home.

EMDR therapy is recognized as a powerful and efficient method of treatment by numerous government agencies and professional associations. These include the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many others.

For more information, see sections on "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" and "EMDR."