The events of 9-11-01 have caused great consternation, confusion, grief, and sadness throughout our nation. It is probably still too soon to estimate the damage to the nation's collective psyche (functioning mind). In fact, it is possible that symptoms suggesting posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will yet occur in many people across the nation, even miles from the actual physical traumatic events. Of course, the people directly affected by the actual tragedies have had and will still be expected to have a variety of responses to this posttraumatic stress.
Peter J. Panzarino, Jr. M.D. F.A.P.A.
The following information is just a glimpse of the effects that 9/11 has had on the residents of those close to the tragedy.
One month after the terrorist attacks on New York City, 75% of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents, who were contacted as part of a routine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention telephone survey on health risk behaviors, reported having emotional or psychological problems associated with the attacks.
- Forty-eight percent reported feeling angry
- 3% reported drinking more alcohol
- 21% of smokers reported smoking more cigarettes
Of those who reported problems:
- Only 12% sought help.
- Of those who received assistance, 36% turned to family members and 31% to friends and neighbors.
- Both sexes and all age groups, education levels, and racial and ethnic groups were affected.
These findings underscore the need to integrate into existing disaster-preparedness plans, programs that address the emotional and psychological health of affected citizens.
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Portions of the above information have been provided with the kind permission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov).