Reducing the Stigma and Fears Associated with Law Enforcement Officers Seeking Help for Symptoms of Cumulative Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder




Zion, Sean

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Cumulative Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) is a very newly discovered disorder exclusive to law enforcement officers. It is very similar in nature to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the dangerous symptoms and behaviors manifested in both are basically the same. Officers are losing their careers, their freedom, and unfortunately, an ever growing number are losing their lives through suicide. In fact, suicide among law enforcement officers now exceeds the number of felonious and accidental line of duty deaths. In order to effectively combat the disorder, and the stigma and fear associated with it, agency administrators should finally take a stand and implement policies conducive to eliminating the problems this disorder is creating within our profession and ultimately save the careers and lives of those officers suffering from the disorder. These policies should mandate officers being able to seek help, receive treatment and/or counselling with absolute confidentiality. The policies should also mandate agency members to immediately report, when they receive information or personally observe some of the dangerous symptoms and behaviors of CPTSD, to agency administration. The same policy should also mandate that agency administration act upon these reports immediately. Finally, the last policy needed should mandate agency administrators to meet directly with newly hired officer’s immediate family members. Family members are usually in the best position to notice behavioral changes early in their development and their being informed by agency administrators will provide them the knowledge they need to properly intervene.



Police Psychology, Police--Mental Health, Police--Job Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder