Archive for the ‘Police Stress’ Category

Police Psychology | Stress Inoculation:  Not Just for Gunfights

by Patricia A. Robinson, Ph.D.

Sonoita, Arizona

 If you Google “police stress inoculation shooting,” you’ll get about 300,000 results, with titles like “Why your firearms training MUST include stress inoculation drills.” Acute stress induces the so-called “fight or flight” response, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system to prepare you to deal with the proverbial saber-tooth tiger about to pounce or the drug dealer drawing a pistol.  Without getting into the physiological weeds, we are familiar with the effects of the acute stress response:  pounding heart and rising blood pressure, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, auditory exclusion, and so on.  If you’re not prepared, these responses can wreak havoc with your shooting skills.

Trainers introduce artificial stress (e.g. time pressure, shoot/don’t shoot decisions, scenarios) in firearms training to ensure that when the real thing happens, an officer will still be able to perform, even under acute stress.   The middle of a gunfight is a bad time to be trying to think through step-by-step how to draw and fire your weapon or what to do when a malfunction occurs—your responses must be automatic.  With acute stress, when the gunfight is over (or the saber-tooth tiger has decided on a different entrée), our bodies return to normal. (more…)

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Police Psychology:  27 Symptoms of Anxiety

 

 

 

Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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Police Psychology | PTSD 4:  Flashbacks

Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

Of course, you are going to think I’ve lost it on this one, but it shows some merit.  And it makes some sense logically.  Researchers in England  say that flashbacks from traumatic events can be moderated through playing Tetris right after the event occurs.  That’s Tetris, the video game where you move puzzle pieces in all directions to make lines or blocks. etc. Makes you wonder if Candy Crush can be used for Ragin’ Anxiety and Donkey Kong and the Mario brothers could be used to sew up Open Heart Surgery!

So the thought is this: by playing a video game after a serious traumatic incident, you are stimulating your eye movement and concentration and that causes the brain to not be able to spend all its time to store long term memories, thus it doesn’t keep coming back into your head as much.  In fact, in the medical journal called Molecular Psychiatry in March of this year told of a study that gave people Tetris after a traumatic incident and others were given a placebo or basically nothing.  The Tetris group had 9 flashbacks the next week while the nothing groups had 23 flashback the next week.  Pretty significant!  Oxford University in England and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said just 20 minutes of Tetris right after a traumatic incident was all that was needed to greatly reduce all PTSD effects.  Scientific America reported the same effect in their study.  In fact, case studies are cropping up all over saying that Tetris therapy is great at reducing flashbacks if given in the hospital after car accident, witnessing shootings and even rape.  Let me get this right, (doctor calls out to nurse):  scalpel…suture…bandage…Gameboy.  This doesn’t make sense to me, but let’s look at it a little closer… (more…)

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Police Psychology | PTSD 3:  Car Accidents

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

 

Of course, they’re driving around 24 hours a day, non-stop.  The problem is there are other people on the road.  The cops have lights on the car and fancy writing, but that just attracts people who have only partial attention to a mundane task like driving.  Two cars hit, one of them is a cop car.  From helping cop to a victim, from a person in charge to helpless man lying on the ground in pain or even unconscious.   At an accident scene, we are worried about everything from keeping the traffic moving to making sure everyone gets the help that is needed.  But the help the cop needs may not be as obvious as a broken bone, or some blood-stained clothes.  And that becomes a major problem for policing.

A New York Times article in June of last year told a story about a physician that was analyzing a soldier’s brain that had been in Iraq and Afghanistan, and had died of a drug overdose.  He was complaining of sleep problems, cognitive problems, memory loss, balance problems and suicidal depression.  The physician notices a buildup of a certain type of protein and some dust-like scarring between the gray matter and the white matter of the brain.  Many other soldiers’ brains seem to have the same scarring and complained of the same symptoms.  The physicians felt it was from blast exposure, or all the loud sounds a soldier was exposed to.  Up to 20 percent of soldiers seem to have these symptoms at different levels of severity.  Problem was soldiers didn’t want to report it for fear they would be seen as going crazy.  The article opines that in World War I, thousands of soldiers were shot for desertion or cowardice that may well of had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  In the 2015 movie “Concussion,” Will Smith play Dr. Bennett Amalu who fights against the NFL when he discovers microtears in the brains cells of football players and the NFL won’t recognize it.  Players complained of headaches, problems sleeping …(you know the rest).   The NFL and the American Military recognize it as a disorder, when will our police departments become aware of it and recognize it? (more…)

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Police Psychology | The Obsessed Mind-Body Connection

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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