Firefighters at Risk: The Negative Effects of Stress and Trauma on the Human Spirit

by Peggy Sweeney The Sweeney Alliance This video outlines some of the causes, signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD, when gone untreated, may lead to suicide. In 2000, I wrote a research paper on the effects of traumatic stress and grief on firefighters. As a firefighter, EMT-B, and mortician, I witnessed first-hand the physical, mental, and emotional traumas these men and women experience daily in the field. I strongly believe today, as I did then, that programs such as Grieving Behind the Badge  must be provided to help reduce the staggering number of heart attacks, suicides, unhealthy addictive behaviors, and high divorce rates in the fire service as well as the emergency medical service and law enforcement/corrections communities in general. [av_video src='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzUfKTEPnpA' format='16-9' width='16' height='9'] I have taken the information from that research paper and condensed it here. You will note throughout this article that several fire service organizations, including the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation and the National Volunteer Fire Council, consistently recommended programs to help reduce mental and emotional stress for firefighters. That was in 2000! Today, there is still NO working solution to the problem. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the fire service is a REAL problem. Firefighter [...]

Firefighters at Risk: The Negative Effects of Stress and Trauma on the Human Spirit2017-08-07T15:22:32+00:00

How an FBI agent who arrested drug addicts became one himself

Matthew Lowry was out of pills and getting desperate. The doctor who prescribed pain medication to ease his chronic and painful inflammation of the intestines had disappeared. He went to clinics, but his wife had begun questioning the bills. He was shaking, sweating, tired. It had been four years since Lowry graduated with honors from the FBI Academy, and he had just been assigned to an elite drug task force chasing the biggest narcotics dealers along the border shared by Maryland and the District. He was also addicted to his pain medication and going through withdrawal that felt “like the worst flu you ever had.” His wife, pregnant with their first child, suspected. He needed to find a new way to get through the day. As he drove home from work one August evening in 2013, Lowry remembered a man he had interrogated months earlier. He, too, had a family, a profession and an addiction to pain pills. He told Lowry that snorting heroin was “just like taking a pain pill.” The agent pulled over near the U Street corridor. Protected from curious eyes by the tinted glass of an unmarked FBI sedan, he pulled out a bag marked “FBI evidence.” [...]

How an FBI agent who arrested drug addicts became one himself2017-08-07T15:22:32+00:00