Psychological symptoms from the September 11 2001 attacks

Terrorist attacks have a number of mental effects on victims and communities affected. It is considered that after the September 11 attacks, majority of the survivors and the victims received psychological care. Thousands of people were killed and scores injured. In addition, millions who were friends and families of the victims were left behind to deal with the bitter truth of losing loved ones and the horrific trauma of the ill-fated attack. Many of the survivors were left to struggle with the psychological aftermaths. Notably, an army of counselors and mental health experts have been on the forefront in trying to help the victims and their friends and families, recover and grow from after the traumatic incident. Other categories included to be suffering from the psychological trauma include firefighters, the military personnel and the police among others.

The direct victims who survived the September 11 terrorist attacks suffered the most psychologically. Most of the victims and the communities have had short-lived mental impacts with a few experiencing long-term mental effects. The most common psychological symptoms in victims include stress/ depression, and trauma. A report by the New York Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) indicated the various symptoms of the September 11, 2001 victims and the affected population. They found out widespread psychological and emotional effects in individuals from various states affected by the terror attack. The statistics by BRFSS demonstrated the various symptoms portrayed by the victims and affected individuals in one way or another.

From the participants in the survey, approximately half the respondents participated in community memorial services with about 13% attending a funeral or memorial service for a relative or an acquaintance. Moreover, nearly half are reported to be having anger problems related to the effects of the attacks. A significant number of the respondents confessed to be smokers and alcohol drinkers due to the terror attack related stress. Notably though is that the impact of the attacks varied by age, sex, race and educational level among other factors. (BRFSS Report) The findings of this report documented the widespread emotional and psychological effects of the terror attack in which stress/depression was a major symptom of mental breakdown.

Majority of the victims engaged in stress relieving habits such as smoking and taking alcohol in a bid to contain the stress within. In addition, the terror attack survivors showed signs of neurological disorders and trauma. Most of these symptoms were seen to be evident weeks after the terror attacks. The survivors who survived the traumatic injuries demonstrated psychiatric disorder symptoms such as anxiety, unexpected headaches and mood disorders. (Armour S. 2006). It should be noted that these were symptoms alongside the physical injuries on victims carried along after the attacks.

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