By: Bethany Winkel
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PTSD after the World Trade Center Attack: 14 years later
As our country today remembers the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, many people are still dealing with the aftermath. Physical illness, injury, and mental illness are still causing problems for many people who were in New York that day, and these can often have far-reaching effects.
Several studies have been done since 9/11 on those that were impacted by the event. Among the most common lasting effects is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A study conducted by New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimated that up to 20 percent of people present during the attacks experienced PTSD, which is approximately four times more than what is typically seen in the general population.
A panel of experts describes the effects in a report to New York’s mayor. “While New York has strongly rebounded in the years since 9/11, one of the painful legacies of the disaster is its lasting effect on the physical and mental health of thousands of individuals who survived the attacks— including the City’s first responders, volunteers from all 50 states who came to assist in the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations, and area residents, school children, large and small businesses, City employees, and commercial workers.”
PTSD often goes hand in hand with substance use. Many people with this mental health condition, unable to find peace of mind and a normal life, turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. This only makes the problem worse and contributes even more to the mental illness. There has been much progress in the treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders in the years since 9/11, and those finding themselves dealing with co-occurring disorders like this should get professional help immediately.
Read more about the effects of the World Trade Center attacks here.