California’s firefighters, first responders, and law enforcement officers typically take a greater number of days off from work to recover from a work-related injury. In addition to often severe physical injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder reflects one of the more serious conditions that may prevent a public service employee from performing his or her job.
Overall, the most common workplace injuries include muscle tears, strains or sprains. As noted by the International Society of Automation, a National Safety Council study calculated the number of production days lost in 2017 at more than 100 million. Public service employees, however, are frequently required to perform at their best under conditions most individuals would find harrowing. The likelihood of facing life-threatening hazards and human tragedy on an almost daily basis brings the factor of emotional stress into the equation.
Signs of PTSD that require treatment
Public service employees arriving on the scene of a tragic accident or natural disaster often face extremely demanding — and sometimes overwhelming — circumstances and dangers. Repeated exposure to on-the-job stress may lead to debilitating effects on an individual’s physical and mental health. The psychological harm may display as PTSD.
As reported by Psychology Today, symptoms of PTSD may include recurring nightmares, fits of anger and emotional withdrawal. In some cases, substance or alcohol use may become a form of self-medication and cause further harm. Complicating the issue is a potential reluctance to acknowledge when professional help becomes a prerequisite to perform at the required level.
When to take time off to recover
When an employee repeatedly experiences work-related pain, overexertion or emotional stress, he or she may need to seek medical treatment. Applying for workers’ compensation benefits in California may cover expenses for health care and rehabilitation, including treatment for non-physical conditions such as PTSD.