Learn the common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents.
Learn more about common mental health conditions that affect millions.
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It goes without saying that physical health and mental health are intricately linked. This is especially true for first responders. The physical effects of your job are known to contribute to the development of cardiometabolic risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. While it’s not possible to eliminate the risk of experiencing these health problems, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk.
You already know the importance of good nutrition, exercising regularly and making a concerted effort to get quality sleep. This is not an easy task for public safety professionals, and the negative impacts related to shiftwork make it even harder.
You don’t have to completely alter your habits overnight to improve your health. Rather than overwhelm yourself with unrealistic goals, start with a few small steps. Each step you take leads to improved motivation and healthier habits. If you encounter setbacks, it can be helpful to remember what motivates you. It can also be helpful to find new sources of motivation.
Battling sleep issues adds to your stress. Improving sleep is vital to wellness. Try to keep regular sleep patterns, avoid alcohol, be strategic with caffeine and get regular exercise.
When that’s not enough, explore other resources for information and tips:
It goes without saying that drinking often has a significant part in first responder culture. Alcohol is usually present at off-duty get-togethers, promotion celebrations and retirement parties. It’s also common for first responders to meet up for drinks after work, especially after a particularly rough shift. In many ways, bonding over a drink is a tradition.
Unfortunately, many first responders turn to alcohol and other substances to cope with the stress and trauma they experience on the job. Many use alcohol as a sedative to help them relax and sleep.
While not everyone will develop a substance use disorder, for some, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can quickly progress to a dangerous dependence and the ripple effects can be devastating. The resources below provide information about substance use disorder and how to get help if you or someone you care about is struggling.
It can be difficult to break the cycle of substance use and addiction, but recovery is possible.