Understanding Career-Caused PTSD

Dr. Laura Tanzini

PTSD, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition that is brought on after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Careers, such as first responders and armed services, can offer many traumatic events. These people often experience some of the worst traumas imaginable. Read on to discover symptoms relating to career-caused PTSD and what you can do to help.

Common Symptoms of Career-Caused PTSD

For people in dangerous careers, there is no common pattern for how the symptoms can first manifest. People process traumatic events in different ways. An individual’s response to trauma depends on their past experiences, existing mental health problems like anxiety and depression, and how their brain releases and regulates chemicals during stressful situations. Most people who suffer from PTSD, however, usually experience one or more of these three common symptoms.


One frequent symptom is called intrusive memories or “re-experiencing” symptoms. These memories are often triggered by words, objects, thoughts, or situations that remind the person of the event. Intrusive memories can include reliving the event while awake, recurring dreams or memories about the event, and strong emotional or physical reactions to reminders of the event.


Another indication of PTSD is avoidance symptoms. In order to avoid reminders of the traumatic event, someone may acquire negative tendencies, alter their regular routine, or entirely block out all details of the event. Avoidance symptoms can also manifest as:

  • Being unable to express either positive or negative emotions
  • Avoiding people, places, objects, and activities that remind them of the event
  • An increase in feelings of worry, guilt, hopelessness, or depression
  • Negative feelings about themselves or others
  • Trouble maintaining relationships
  • Memory problems
  • No longer interested in activities they once enjoyed
  • Anger
  • Drug and alcohol dependency

Hyper Arousal

The last kind of common symptom is hyper-arousal symptoms. These are excessive reactions to events and situations that the person would have dealt with calmly in the past. This includes being more irritable, having frequent outbursts of anger, being easily startled, always being on guard for danger, and having trouble sleeping or concentrating while awake. Hyper-arousal symptoms may occur consciously or subconsciously and can be triggered months or years following the traumatic experience.

Seek Support

People in these careers endure much more than we can comprehend, and it’s important to show our support and know when it is not enough.

If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, the best thing you can do is get help. Professional help is needed to get you the complex PTSD treatments that you need. Find a skilled and trustworthy mental health care provider in your area who will work with you to create a proper treatment plan.

Contact us at Kinder in the Keys to learn more about all the treatment options available for those who suffer from PTSD.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.