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NCJ Number: 220855 
Title: Posttraumatic Stress, the Police, and Suicide (From Under the Blue Shadow: Clinical and Behavioral Perspectives on Police Suicide, P 62-88, 2007, John M. Violanti and Stephanie Samuels -- See NCJ-220852)
Author(s): John M. Violanti; Stephanie Samuels
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Charles C. Thomas
Springfield, IL 62704
Sale Source: Charles C. Thomas
2600 South First Street
Springfield, IL 62704
United States of America
Type: Case Study; Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the context of police work and its link to increased risk for suicide.
Abstract: PTSD is generally triggered by experiencing, witnessing, or being confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury and associated responses of intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Reported symptoms of PTSD among police officers are sleep disturbances, flashbacks, guilt feelings, wishing the traumatic event had not happened, and depression. For many officers, PTSD is associated with increased anger and lowered work interest for months after the precipitating incident. In police work, PTSD is often not restricted to a reaction to a single traumatic incident. It may result from chronic exposure to differing magnitudes of trauma over a prolonged period. Herman (1997) has suggested that a diagnosis of "complex PTSD" should be used to designate this type of PTSD. Also, trauma experienced prior to entering police work can have an impact on PTSD symptomatology due to traumatic events in the course of police work. A case study is presented to show how a police officer who was a child victim of sexual abuse by an authority figure contributed to PTSD symptomatology in the course of his police work. PTSD symptomatology in police officers may result in adverse coping mechanisms that increase the risk for suicide ideation, such as alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse has been identified as a prevalent problem among police officers, which adds to their increased risk for suicide. 44 references
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Mental disorders; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
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