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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stress in the EMS?

Stress in the EMS is what I wanna blog about this day!

Hey, hey, how you doin'?  It's been a while since I have blogged about stress and destressing in the Emergency Field, and since I have been helping a few medics lately, I thought I would get back to blogging, and helping the helpers.

One question that is often posed to me is, "How do you know if you have stress when you work in the EMS?"  Normally individuals ask this because they don't think they have stress and they are concerned about someone  else.  So, whether you wanna know about stress for yourself, or stress relief for someone else, I would love to help you all out.

This is the thing about stress in the EMS...

If you work in the Emergency Field, running 911 calls, and responding in your vehicle with lights, and sirens, you will experience stress, PERIOD!!!  If you are sitting in a calm state, the alarm for a call goes off, you jump up a runnin', you activate an increase in your pulse, blood pressure, and body system, right?  So, if you do that all the day long, everyday you work, you activate physical stress.

If you are running calls, and you have the mood of anger, irritability, moodiness, or anxiety, along with the physical stress, you are experiencing emotional stress as well.  These particular negative emotions tend to mimic the stress response, aka fight or flight response.  It may be at lower levels but, it is still activating a very similar response, and depending on the individual, it may be the actual stress response.

Some signs, and symptoms that are exhibited when we have our daily stress along with the added first responder stress are...

Physical presentations include headaches, neck aches, chest pain, hypertension, tacha cardia, dizziness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, sweats, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Emotional manifestations include anxiety, guilt, fear, panic, grief, depression, and apprehension.

Cognitive demonstrations include denial, memory loss, disorientation, hyper-alertness, nightmares, poor concentration, difficulty problem solving, difficulty decision making, intrusive images, and disturbed thoughts.

Behavioral indications include avoidance, blaming, difficulty with speech, decrease or increase in appetite, decrease or increase in sleep, increased alcohol, outbursts, poor hygiene, restlessness, and withdrawal.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, and they happened to begin during your career, chances are you got some stress my friend.  If you have had any of these signs, and/or symptoms long before your career in the Emergency Field, chances are you got some stress my friend.

People who are stressed out, burned out, or whacked out, before they begin running 911 calls, are much higher risk for severe stress when they enter the Emergency Service, which can turn into crisis, or despair with life.

So, if you answered yes to having stress in the EMS, the greatest thing you, or anyone can do is raise awareness, take steps towards intervention, and educate self for direction.

In my 'EMS Stress Book' you can find basic stress management information, and direction.  Also, in my 'Stress Free' book, you will find a stress test, and solutions for stressful habits.

In my upcoming posts, I will address the most common stressful reactions, and possible remedies, and solutions.

Have a wonderful day my friend!

Elizabeth 

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