Warning Signs that a Firefighter Might be Suffering from a Drug Addiction
Being a firefighter is a challenging profession on both the mind and the body. Each time there is a call that involves the firefighter; they are pushed to their limits mentally and physically. These constant strains can often lead to physical injuries that require the firefighter to receive prescribed medication for the pain. Severe pain can in fact turn to dependency on the painkillers, leading to a drug problem that can often spiral out of control. If you suspect that a fire fighter is suffering from a drug problem due to drug addiction, here are a few signs that can help you with that determination.
The physical demands on the body of the firefighter are like no other profession. They need to keep their bodies in peak condition to be able to enter a burning building and perform their tasks when called upon. Injury can happen at any time, and often the firefighter is prescribed medication to help reduce the pain associated with injuries. The high demands of the job and the strain on the body leave the firefighter vulnerable to drug addiction quite easily. The painkillers reduce the pain in the body, while putting the mind in a euphoric state. This state is more desirable than the pain, leading to a dependency quite easily.
When you begin to notice that the firefighter is still taking medication for pain long after they sustained an injury, it could be a sign they are developing a need for the drugs. Often when the firefighter is confronted about the use of medications, they become quite aggressive and defensive towards anyone questioning their intentions. Rather than listen to concerns, the firefighter will go on the defensive, explaining how the pain is never ending and the only thing helping them to have a normal life is their usage of the painkillers, through this, you will know there is drug addiction involved. If you try to help a firefighter who you suspect is abusing the drug, they will become short and confrontational to protect their drug addiction and try and keep it from being exposed.
The job of a firefighter is not only demanding, you are responsible for more than just yourself each time you enter a burning building. Every firefighter on the scene relies on the firefighter next to them to ensure they come out alive. When a firefighter has a drug addiction problem, the focus of helping others is reduced to simply caring about themselves. They lose the ability to rationalize, and they quickly become less dependent on the job, these posses a very dangerous situation for all firefighters. As the work suffers and the person is approached about their lack of commitment, they will either defend themselves or begin keeping secrets concerning the drug usage. Lying and keeping secrets are all signs of a serious drug addiction problem, escalated when the drug addiction is about to be exposed.
One of the most obvious signs of a drug addiction to everyone but the firefighter is a change in appearance. As the drug addiction to the painkillers becomes more serious, the person loses the ability to take care of certain matters when it comes to personal hygiene. While the firefighter must endure countless hours of being on call, they still are able to maintain a sense of normalcy when it comes to taking care of themselves. The addict will begin to suffer significant weight loss, show an increase in dark circles around the eyes, and allow their grooming habits to go unchecked. The only thing they become obsessed about is the high from taking the drugs, so everything else in their life becomes secondary.
If you are a firefighter suffering from drug addiction or know of one, there is help available today. Local drug treatment centers have free workshops and meetings available for people to become more educated on the pitfalls of a firefighter suffering from drug addiction.