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Angry Outbursts From FireFighter Husband - Could It Be PTSD ?
With each year that passes my husband has more time on the job. That is a good thing.
However, recently, I've noticed an increase in the frequency and intensity of my husband's angry outbursts. At times they seem to be full blown rage.
I don't believe he's depressed or bi-polar or manic-depressive. However - he is a firefighter in a busy city! Could the behavior be a result of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)? He does risk his life at terrible fires, view bloody car accidents, and see death from heart attacks to suicide to drowning.
Everyone including his family, firmly believe that he's so strong and unaffected by the job. I did too for a long time. But if war can have a detrimental effect on some military staff - so shouldn't an equally gruesome career?
Please let me know your thoughts.
I'm quite concerned about us and know I cannot take the verbal abuse much longer.
Thank you very much for any assistance that you might provide.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Carol, and thanks for telling your story here. Your question about PTSD is a very valid one. Exposure to extreme danger, death and physical trauma on an ongoing basis can definitely produce the symptoms you're describing.
It also makes sense that you cannot take the verbal abuse much longer. I'm glad you're taking action on your own behalf, at the same time you're concerned about your husband.
I know that in some cities, there are informal support groups made up of firefighters, police officers and former military men who get together to talk and support each other. I don't have a specific reference to offer you, but you might ask among your contacts and see if you can find out if there's one in your area.
You may also find support groups for firefighter's wives in your area. I did a Google search, and found more links to firefighter wives' support groups than any other.
The main thing is that your husband has to acknowledge that he's having a problem.
I am not offering a diagnosis of your husband, having never met with him. You do definitely have some reasonable concerns, and I encourage you to continue seeking information about PTSD. Just enter "PTSD" or "post traumatic stress disorder" in the search box at the top of the home page, and you'll find all of those pages.
Take good care of yourself, Carol.
And support your husband in every way you know how.
My very best to you,
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