I shocked the sheriff

blog image 300x150Stress and the workplace go together like sushi and politicians. Or (in the case of the SA Police Service) like luxury German cars and top cops.  While our most recent ex-top cop confidently proclaimed that he was not stressed by news of his imminent dismissal, that may have something to do with his bank balance, rather than the way he did his job.  Anyone who spends time fighting criminals (instead of imitating them) finds the job incredibly stressful.

If you are stressed at work, spare a thought for the (admittedly rare) honest policeman – and -woman.  Not only do you face hostile working conditions in the office, most of your “clients” would love see you wearing plank pyjamas.  They often signal this wish by pointing all sorts of shiny metal pipes in your direction.  And, once you’ve escaped such unwelcome attention, you are faced with shell-shocked members of the public who need comfort, while you need information from them – in a hurry.

The scene of a recent crime is not a pretty sight.  It’s also not an ideal working environment (This may be one reason why certain cops prefer to be on the scene of the crime BEFORE the crime has been committed…). For most police officers, however, that scene of broken humanity is their workplace.  And the stress of working in such circumstances adds up.  Small wonder that so many policeman and -woman suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).  And small wonder that the suicide rate amongst SA police officers is five to ten times higher than that of the general public (depending on whose stats you look at).

In essence, PTSD is a condition where flashbacks of horrific scenes occur whenever the brain is not occupied.  Sleeping can become difficult or impossible (“… for in that sleep, who knows what dreams may come…”).  PTSD sufferers often turn to chemistry to keep the brain busy. Not all of this chemistry is available on prescription, either.  And eventually, depression and suicide rates soar.

Healing rates are impressive when the Elexoma Medic is used together with psychotherapy.

It’s not just the police force, nor is this only a South African phenomenon.  In 2008, TIME magazine ran an article entitled, “America’s medicated army”, looking at how PTSD was affecting the forces and particularly the veterans. The content of that article was not very reassuring.  While the US Army (curiously) does not keep track of the use of antidepressants amongst its forces, it is estimated that 20,000 of the soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 were using prescription antidepressants.  That would be about 20% of the total deployed force.  Interestingly, the American military increasingly treats PTSD with (drum roll) Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES).  Almost no side effects and brilliant outcomes.

In South Africa, the Sinoville Crisis Centre, under the able leadership of Dr Pixie du Toit has been using Elexoma Medics for about 6 years in situations that resemble a war zone.  Pixie and her team often arrive at the crime scene within minutes of the police.  They administer CES to the crime victims there and then.  People who are incoherent with fear and emotions become calm in a matter of minutes and are able to give clear descriptions to the police, enabling them to track down the perpetrators quicker.

Some trivia:  Once, Pixie even treated a police dog that had been traumatised by being caught in crossfire.  Within minutes, the dog relaxed again and was able to execute commands.

The Sinoville Crisis Centre also does follow-up therapy and here, again, the Elexoma Medic works its magic.  Healing rates are impressive when the Elexoma Medic is used together with psychotherapy.  This goes for members of the police force, as well as for the victims of crime.

But don’t just take my word for it. A study published in “The Correctional Psychologist” some years ago confirms this.  Police staff taking part in that study showed a significant improvement in all their depression scores after only 20 daily treatments of 20 minutes each.

Quite frankly, if you know anyone suffering from nightmares and sleeplessness due to crime or work stress, please recommend the Elexoma Medic to them.  Their life may depend on it.

So, let’s hear it for shockingly good policing!

(Doc) Frank