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…)