We all know that the United States can be a rough place. There is a lot of crime around in the big cities, and natural disasters are not uncommon. While all of us are exposed to some degree to this roughness, our policemen get the real brunt of it. They daily witness violence and crime and must play a role in disaster recovery. On top of this, they work long hours and sometimes have rotating shifts. The combination of these factors lends itself to a lot of stress on our policemen.The public has a tendency to look at policeman as being invincible. The image of a policeman is one of strength, both internal and external. The truth, however, is that the stresses of being a policeman take a toll on them. Research has shown that, when stressors are enduring, a person’s ability to cope becomes diminished.
Many times, policemen experience burnout. This can occur after eight to ten years of experience. Police suicide has become a significant problem. The combination of all the stress can be too much to take.
To begin our discussion, we must define what stress and post-traumatic stress are. Stress is defined as a response to a perceived threat, challenge, or change. A small amount of stress can be beneficial to a person. It can help motivate him or her. However, when stress builds, it can have harmful effects. Stress can be short-lived, chronic, accumulative, or delayed.
Stress comes along with physical and psychological effects that occur to a person relative to its level of severity.
Post-traumatic stress is defined as that which is experienced from events that are capable of causing injury or are life-threatening. The person who experiences this kind of stress is not necessarily threatened himself or herself. They may be only a witness to the event. Examples of events that can cause this kind of stress are natural disasters, serious accidents, and violence.