The terror attacks that took place on September 11 2001 in New York resulted in the deaths of nearly 3000 innocent civilians.
The attacks also took a significant toll on the psychological health of survivors and first responders and witnesses, including PTSD, anxiety and depression. The symptoms they experience are varied, and can include hopelessness, guilt, or issues with substance abuse.
I remember the horror of watching images of people jumping off the buildings to their deaths. I imagine what it must have felt like to have survived the attacks or witnessed it first-hand.
Many people in New York City and neighbouring areas who witnessed the disaster experienced symptoms of trauma in the months that followed. Researchers studying the health of survivors, recovery workers and witnesses say the event led to increased rates of mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.
And while the majority of people have recovered in the years since – a sizable share of survivors still experience symptoms to this day.
People with PTSD can experience a range of symptoms related to the traumatic event, such as vivid memories of the event — they are often easily startled and anxious about something bad happening and having nightmares that are hard to forget; and avoidance, which is keeping away from people, places, or any memories related to 9/11.
Those symptoms may have begun immediately following the attacks, but the mental effects of trauma don’t always start right away.
Treatments include medications such as Zoloft and Paxil, along with certain kinds of talk therapy, such as prolonged exposure therapy, which involves talking about the traumatic event or events, and attempting to do things that an individual has avoided since the trauma.
Nearly 3000 families were traumatised with grief added with the public nature of the deaths of their loved ones so it was double trauma for them.