Dying for the job: police work exposure and health. Violanti JM, ed. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., 2014 Feb; :169-186
Due to the nature of police work, officers are repeatedly exposed to traumatic incidents that may include motor vehicle accidents, armed conflicts, and witnessing violent death; increasing their risk of PTSD (Marmar et al., 2006). In fact, between 7% and 19% of police officers qualify for a diagnosis of PTSD, and approximately 34% experience symptoms of PTSD, but do not meet a full PTSD diagnosis (Carlier, Lamberts, & Gersons, 1997; Gersons, 1989; Robinson, Sigman, & Wilson, 1997). Individuals with PTSD are more likely to suffer from co-occurring psychological conditions such as depression, social phobia, panic attacks, and substance abuse (Gupta, 2013; Sareen et al., 2007) as well as several negative physical health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease (Coughlin, 2011; Violanti et al., 2006), diabetes (Lukaschek et al., 2013), and chronic pain (McWilliams, Cox, & Enns, 2003; Sareen et al., 2007). It is a disorder that is both pervasive and invasive; therefore it is important to effectively treat PTSD. This chapter briefly reviews treatment modalities such as cognitive behavior therapy, pharmacotherapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing that, in general have been found to reduce PTSD symptoms in independent research studies (Bisson & Andrew, 2009; Cloitre, 2009). There is less evidence supporting the use of assistance animals, somatic psychotherapies, and yoga, but these treatments show promise and are also discussed (Ogden & Minton, 2000; Ogden, Pain, & Fisher, 2006; Streeter, Gerbarg, Saper, Ciraulo, & Brown, 2012; The Trauma Center, 2007).