Granite Recovery Centers offers the Uniformed Professionals Treatment Program, or UPTP, for active and retired uniformed professionals struggling with substance use disorders, depression, anxiety and other issues. Uniformed service workers are placed in unique situations where they can experience high levels of stress. These job factors can cause the individual to have a greater risk for mental health issues and substance use disorders. At Granite Recovery Centers, our treatment options are designed to meet these uniformed service professionals’ specific needs.
Uniformed Professionals Have Specific Struggles
Addiction is an issue across the United States, especially for those in uniform. It is estimated that one in four police officers has a problem with alcohol or drug use. Compared to 10% of the general population, 20 to 30% of police officers have a substance use disorder.
While these statistics can seem shocking, substance use disorders and depression are not uncommon for those in law enforcement, the military and other public services. These professions put individuals into high-stress, life-threatening situations. In addition, uniformed professionals often have to work long hours on rotating shifts. Many police officers, firefighters and military professionals turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with these everyday stresses. However, a few changes to their living environment and the right program can help these professionals recover.
Why Is Addiction a Serious Problem for Uniformed Personnel?
Law enforcement officers are often at the front line of crises, including domestic violence incidents, fatal car accidents and disturbing crime scenes. For officers in urban areas, they might face high-stress situations on a daily basis. As an officer, they must make split-second decisions in many of these circumstances. That can add a layer of guilt as the aftermath of each incident unfolds.
Police work is often grueling, especially the work schedule. Many officers are battling with rotating shifts and lack of sleep. As a result, the officer could suffer from impaired reaction times. Some work schedules also deprive officers of valuable family time.
All these stressors and work factors can lead to severe issues with addiction and mental health. In one study, about one in four officers had contemplated suicide. In fact, the suicide rate for police officers is five times higher than the rate for the general public. It is also estimated that up to 19% of police officers have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many more police officers die as a result of suicide than homicide. There is often a stigma around those with substance use and mental health disorders, especially for those who want to seek help. Many officers have a fear of losing their jobs or facing disciplinary action when dealing with these issues.
Substance use disorders and mental health issues are not exclusive to the law enforcement community. Firefighters also spend their days dealing with life-threatening situations, such as entering burning buildings and responding to medical emergencies. Firefighters and emergency medical technicians could develop severe mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder. As a coping method, these professionals might turn to drugs and alcohol to help deal with the stress. In some cases, the demanding nature of the job causes physical injuries to the individual. In those circumstances, there is an increased chance of painkiller addiction.
Like law enforcement personnel, addiction and mental health issues affect firefighting professionals more than the general population. According to a 2012 study, 56% of firefighters were considered binge drinkers. Alcohol is one of the most abused substances among firefighters. In some cases, it is due to a wide range of factors, including fire station culture, trauma and on-the-job injuries.
Substance use disorders and mental health struggles are also an issue for those in the U.S. military. The unique culture and deployment stress can present risks to those who serve their country. For those who are deployed, there is an increased risk of unhealthy drinking, drug use and other unsafe behaviors. The military’s zero-tolerance policy can often discourage individuals from seeking the right treatment for their issues. While illicit drug use is low among active-duty personnel, misuse of prescription drugs and binge drinking are higher than the general public.
Active and retired military personnel can experience issues with mental health. In a 2014 study from JAMA Psychiatry, one in four active-duty members showed signs of a mental health problem. PTSD is a significant problem, and the rate among military members is 15% higher than civilians. Depression is another issue military members face. That same survey found that depression is five times higher in the military than in the general population.
The life of a uniformed professional can be stressful. With all these factors, there is an increased risk of substance use disorders and mental health issues. However, programs are available to help individuals combat these problems, including specialized treatment options at Granite Recovery Centers.
The Right Treatment Options
The biggest challenge is finding the right treatment program. For the best results, you want to find a program that understands how to treat uniformed professionals based on their unique work-related stressors. In UPTP, staff members are trained to help uniformed service professionals recover from alcohol or drug abuse. This program can also assist with other issues relating to the professional’s mental health.
Some of the most common problems that can be addressed in the program include the following:
- Substance Use Disorder: Police officers, firefighters and military members are all put into situations that can cause a great deal of stress. Some individuals turn to substances to deal with painful feelings, thoughts, memories or situations. With excessive use, drugs and alcohol can cause the individual to miss work or make the wrong decision on the job. At this point, they are risking their own life and the lives of others around them.
- Depression: Everyone has moments of sadness. However, depression is more complicated than feeling down after a traumatic event. Depression can cause the person to lose interest in a favorite hobby or fail to go into work. When these feelings of sadness start to affect a person’s everyday life, treatment options need to be explored.
- Anxiety: High-stress situations can cause any person to experience a little fear, but intense feelings of anxiety create an unstable environment for the individual. They may feel like their emotions are out of control, and it can interfere with their work duties and daily activities.
- Post-Traumatic Stress: After witnessing a horrific event, an individual can experience negative thoughts, nightmares and feelings. In some cases, these thoughts and experiences can negatively affect their daily life. For uniformed professionals, they deal with the worst of human nature, and those events lead to post-traumatic stress. These issues must be treated, or they can result in depression.
- Stress-Related Issues: A uniformed professional can experience more than work-related stress. They might have to worry about a life-threatening illness, divorce, death in the family or a new workplace position. These stressors can cause problems for any person, especially those already coping with a high-stress job.
- Other Conditions: Behavioral health issues can affect people in different ways. Uniformed professionals are not immune to those problems. UPTP has trained experts who can help address these serious issues.
Unique Treatment Options for Uniformed Personnel
Since firefighters, police officers, military personnel and other uniformed professionals face unique challenges, it is critical to find the right program. All these professionals deal with tremendous pressure at work, and it is important to help them put those work-related stressors into perspective. In some cases, their coping skills need to be improved to avoid alcohol and drug issues. Some programs will put on emphasis on relaxation techniques and recreational options, such as meditation and yoga.
Mental health issues affect these uniformed individuals at a higher rate than the general population. Many professionals will turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. These individuals often avoid treatment due to the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in their field. However, with the right therapy, these mental health issues and substance use disorders can be treated in a positive and healthy environment.
Granite Recovery Centers Can Help
In UPTP, you will receive specialized care for your addiction or other mental health issues. You will also be in the company of other uniformed service professionals who understand the stresses and rigors of the job.
During your orientation, a trained staff member will show you around the campus to help you familiarize yourself with the location. You will meet with a UPTP care team member to discuss your needs and hopes for the program. At this time, you will also attend a session with a medical staff member to discuss your treatment choices, medication options and medical needs.
Throughout the program, regular one-on-one sessions are available to address your specific issues. A UPTP team member will provide a review of your recovery progress. You will also receive the tools to develop a self-care plan when you leave the program.
The care team understands the unique needs of uniformed service professionals. This program provides a wide range of evidence-based treatment options to help you overcome mental health and substance use disorders.
UPTP uses acceptance and commitment therapy, or the ACT method, to help those with depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. This scientifically supported method is effective. During your group therapy session, you can work on psychological flexibility. With this training, you have the ability to be present, be open to what is available at the moment and take action for the people and things that are important to you.
For a healthier life, there needs to be a balance between the mind and body. In UPTP, therapy focuses on mindfulness, breathing and relaxation training. You can learn to practice mindfulness to concentrate your attention on the present instead of focusing on painful memories, thoughts and feelings. These relaxation techniques will calm your mind and body. You can also learn breathing techniques to balance your nervous system.
These treatments are scientifically supported to help you lower stress, improve job performance, stay sober, reduce emotional reactivity and increase situational awareness. You can also develop sharper mental clarity and problem-solving skills. In turn, you can bounce back from those work and life stressors.
In addition to the therapy with your uniformed service peers, you will participate in other programs with non-uniformed members of the community.
Granite Recovery Centers focuses on the 12-step program. This effective treatment program uses the 12-step curriculum with acceptance and commitment therapy. Along with ACT, these programs can provide a vital treatment option for drug and alcohol addiction. You can learn to accept those things that you cannot change as you focus on what or who is important in your life.
Wellness activities are another essential piece of your recovery process. You need to improve your overall well-being and health. These programs will help support and maintain your substance use or mental health recovery. In treatment, you can participate in yoga, hiking or other exercises. For example, yoga helps take your attention and focus away from negative thoughts and feelings as you build strength in the body. Our health and wellness team can help you tailor a program to meet all your health needs.
Uniformed service professionals do not have to suffer in silence with mental health and substance use disorders. There are treatment options available that can help you overcome these issues. Uniformed service professionals have a higher risk of substance use disorders and mental health problems. Due to the high-stress nature of the job, you need to find the right program for your needs. At Granite Recovery Centers, our UPTP program is designed for uniformed service professionals who need assistance with these issues. We understand your needs and want to help you lead a happier and healthier life.