Local News

Study Gives Psychological Glimpse Of Post 9-11 Fallout

Posted August 7, 2002

— A new

study

from the

Journal of the American Medical Association

gives people a glimpse of the psychological fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks. Many may assume that people in New York and Washington, D.C., were most affected, but the study shows that is not necessarily the case.

Officials claim the Sept. 11 attacks were the deadliest terrorist acts ever in the United States. The destruction and loss of life shook many people, even those far from Ground Zero. Dr. William Schlenger and a team of researchers at Research Triangle Insititute surveyed 2,300 adults across the country two months later looking for signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Health experts said people with PTSD may feel emotionally numb or detached and have trouble sleeping. Some are unable to escape the nightmare reliving the experience of the events of Sept. 11 over and over again.

The study found that more than 11 percent of New Yorkers had symptoms of post-traumatic stress. That is compared to 2.7 percent in Washington and 4 percent in the rest of the country. Experts believe the difference between Washington, D.C. and New York is due to the level of exposure.

"That is the crashing of planes into the world towers and the ultimate collapse of the towers was a much more extreme exposure than what happened in the Washington, D.C. area," Schlenger said.

Based on the study, there may be more than 500,000 cases of PTSD in metropolitan New York alone. Unfortunately, adults were not the only ones affected by terrorism.

"Across the nation, about half of adults in households reported that at least one child in their household was distressed by the attacks," Schlenger said.

Researchers said while watching the events on TV was upsetting, that alone most likely did not cause post-traumatic stress. Most directly affected knew someone killed in the attacks or worked near the areas.

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