Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use problems are two common mental health concerns among firefighters. However, these conditions are rarely spoken about in the firehouse, and most firefighters may not know how or why they may be at risk. It may also be difficult to tell which symptoms to look out for, when something is a problem and what to do to get help.
PTSD is a mental health condition that may develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and upsetting emotional or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
Individuals with PTSD may tend to avoid thinking about the trauma or going near people, places or things that remind them of the trauma. Individuals suffering from PTSD also commonly experience negative changes in their mood or beliefs about themselves, others or the world.