Stress is a term used by many, is somewhat misunderstood, and often used to describe a negative condition or emotional state. People experience various forms of stress at home, work, in social settings, and when engaged in activities to simply have fun. Police officer's experience stresses the same as others, but also in ways much different than the average citizen. The dangers, violence, and tragedy seen by officers result in added levels of stress not experienced by the general population. .
What is stress? Stress is not a new phenomenon, it has been experienced throughout history. Stress is a biological response to some stimulus. Fear, panic, anger, tragedy and especially pressure can cause it. Stress can result in the competitiveness needed to succeed in business, relationships, sports, and education. Is stress bad or good? It is both. Good stress is manageable stress an can actually heighten your performance in certain situations. Bad stress is unmanageable stress and lessens your performance because it's too much to bare. .
Police work, by its nature, calls for an incredible amount of continual stress. The demands on police officers to show greater restraint has been increasing over the years and has increased the effects of stress on police work. Today's police officer is now more than ever in the public eye. He now must think about consequences before his actions in every situation. .
If we take a quick overview of police work and look at the research we can see what are some of the biggest stresses. Having your partner killed in the line of duty, lack of support by the department and bosses, shift work and disruption of family time/ family rituals and the daily grind of dealing with the scum of society. All of these factors add up and lead to high rates of cancer, heart disease, and suicide for police officers.
We are becoming all too familiar with police suicide especially with the attention it gets from the media.