Police more prone to psychiatric disorders, study argues

A US study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research has argued that while it had been thought that police officers were more generally resilient to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than other workers following the New York terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, in fact, they suffered elevated rates of functional difficulties.

Although both male and female officers were less likely to suffer from PTSD, 15.4% showed symptoms of sub-syndromal PTSD, which is a lower level of the disorder but is nevertheless linked to higher rates of other psychiatric disorders.

Lead author Dr Robert H Pietrzak, of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, said: “Current screening and diagnostic criteria for disaster-related PTSD may be too restrictive in identifying the full complement of police who have clinically significant psychiatric and functional difficulties after responding to a mass disaster.”

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