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73 FBI L. Enforcement Bull. 24 (2004)
Police Trauma and Addiction: Coping with the Dangers of the Job

handle is hein.journals/fbileb73 and id is 340 raw text is: 

aw enforcement officers
       face traumatic incidents
       daily. These events, typ-
ically unexpected and sudden,
fall well beyond the bounds of
normal experience;' hence, they
can have profound physical,
emotional, and psychological
impacts-even for the best-
trained, experienced, and
seasoned officers.
    The ability to cope with
stressful incidents is a personal
journey that depends on an
officer's past experiences with

trauma; appropriate develop-
ment of coping strategies for
stress; availability of support
networks (e.g., family, friends,
and colleagues); and recognition
of the dangers of ignoring signs
and symptoms of post-incident
stress, which is a normal re-
sponse to abnormal circum-
stances.2 Regardless of an
officer's personal experiences
with traumatic incidents, avoid-
ing, ignoring, or burying the
emotional aftermath of a trau-
matic event can lead to serious

short- and long-term conse-
quences. Sadly, however, some
officers believe that substance
use and abuse may offer the
best way to cope with their
otherwise unbearable feelings.
    Certainly, not every officer
deals with stress and trauma by
abusing chemicals, and not
every officer who chooses to
abuse chemicals does so to
numb the effects of trauma.
However, overwhelming
evidence suggests that the
two factors often are linked,

24 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

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