Can you be a police officer with anxiety?

This post answers: Can you be a police officer with anxiety? Can you be a police officer if you take medication for anxiety? Would a history of anti-anxiety medication disqualify you from law enforcement? What are some ways to manage anxiety as a police officer?

Can you be a police officer with anxiety?

Individuals who aspire to be police officers can do so even if they have anxiety with appropriate levels of emotional and mental support.

Individuals who consider being police officers must be well aware of the various situations that they might encounter that might trigger their stress and anxiety.

Once they do so they must equip themselves with the required coping strategies and skills to combat their anxiety to perform optimally as an officer.

So people who want to be police officers while they’re experiencing anxiety must try and get their anxieties under control in a holistic manner so that they can live up to the expectations as officers of the law.

Before joining a law enforcement agency there are various evaluations of the candidate that helps to understand their mental, psychological, biological, and physical strengths and weaknesses.

Once people are able to identify their weaknesses they can actively work on them to improve their evaluation scores.

Can you be a police officer if you take medication for anxiety?

Reports indicate that about 1/3 of all police officers take anti-anxiety medications Due to the stress and trauma that many police officers might go through as part of their duty.

This also indicates that some individuals might not hold the mental strength that is sufficient to cope with their demands as police officers.

Taking antidepressants does not disqualify any candidate as a police officer as a sole reason there are other parameters that the recruiters will skim through to check an individual’s eligibility status.

According to the earlier rules individuals I had to go through a waiting period of two years if they were on antidepressant drugs and were inspired to be a police officer however according to the recent rules those on antidepressant drugs can join the police force after a detailed eligibility test.

Would a history of anti-anxiety medication disqualify you from law enforcement?

Individuals must be well aware that a history of anxiety medication might not be the basis for their disqualification however the various fitness evaluation that is conducted before shortlisting a candidate act against them if they show any signs of mental or physical instability.

What are some ways to manage anxiety as a police officer?

A combination of therapy and medication can be ideal for police officers who are dealing with anxiety to perform optimally.


Several medications that police officers can consider with the help of their medical health practitioners for anxiety are:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant that medical health practitioners can prescribe to police officers with anxiety.

Doctors can also prescribe SSRIs to individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Many doctors consider selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to be the first-line drug treatment for anxiety.

SSRI’s work for anxiety by stopping those nerve cells in the brain that reabsorb serotonin which plays a role in mood regulation.

SSRIs begin to show their effect within six weeks however police officers must understand that these medicines do not work for every person in a similar manner that is it might show effects for some while it might not for others.

Police officers can take SSRIs for up to 12 months to treat their anxiety issues and then gradually decrease their dosage with the help of the doctor’s advice.

SSRIs are not habit-forming and do not lead to dependence after long-term use.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of antidepressants that help in treating anxiety in a police officer.

Doctors usually prescribe these even to treat depression and some chronic pain conditions.

SNRIs work by reducing the brain’s reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine.

SNRIs can be taken by police officers after consulting their doctors based on their dosage and duration.

SNRIs take several weeks to come into effect. They are not habit-forming and do not lead to dependency after long-term use.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are antidepressant drugs that can be prescribed to police officers for their anxiety. Doctors can also prescribe these for people suffering from depression.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) might work for some individuals on whom other medications do not work to provide them relief with their anxiety.

Police officers must consult their mental health practitioners before taking these as many practitioners prefer SSRIs instead of tricyclic antidepressants because of the side effects that they cause.



Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative drug that helps to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as tensed muscles. They also help in bringing about a sense of relaxation and these are quick medicines that bring relief within a few minutes.

Though Benzodiazepines are effective within the short run doctors rarely prescribe these to police officers or any other individuals because they become less effective over time and can be addictive.

Unlike other antidepressants, benzodiazepines might also cause withdrawal symptoms which include depression, sleep problems, sweating, and seizures.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps police officers to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Online therapy 

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting a police officer can opt to seek help through the online medium.

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation.

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Police officers though officers of the law are humans first and being affected by mental health concerns can be very natural and common. many officers might experience anxiety before or even after joining the police force.

The nature of their position makes them more vulnerable to stress and situations that entail mental exhaustion leading to various mental health issues. However, there are various ways through which police officers can cope with their anxieties through mental and emotional support.

Frequently asked questions: Can you be a police officer with anxiety?

Can you be a police officer with social anxiety?

Being a police officer with social anxiety is possible yet challenging for those battling anxiety. Police officers must have that expertise in managing challenging situations and dangerous individuals.

Can you take anxiety medications and be a police officer?

Individuals who take anxiety medications can be police officers as long as their ability to function is not distorted or below the set expectations. In some cases, they are not recommended for first responders while they are on duty.

How many police officers suffer from anxiety?

Studies indicate that about 12% of police officers have been diagnosed with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and suicide ideations.


Can you be a police officer while using antidepressants?

Police officers can fit the role while using antidepressants or while on duty.


Can You Be A Police Officer With Anxiety /Depression? All explained