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911 Survivors: Coping with
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Kevin Caruso

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that may occur in people who experience or witness intense violence, serious accidents, or life-threatening situations. And oftentimes involvement in these situations will make people feel hopeless, fearful, horrified, and overwhelmed.

911 survivors are particularly vulnerable to PTSD.

Possible causes for PTSD include experiencing or witnessing:

  • Terrorism
  • Military combat
  • Rape
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault
  • Sexual molestation
  • Sexual abuse
  • A kidnapping
  • Child abuse
  • Severe verbal abuse
  • Torture
  • An automobile accident
  • An airplane accident
  • A fire
  • A hurricane
  • A tornado
  • An animal attack
  • A threatening individual with a gun or a knife

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • “Reliving” the traumatic event through thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares (Flashbacks can be triggered by anything that causes a memory of the trauma. For example, a war veteran might experience a flashback after seeing a low-flying helicopter).
  • Experiencing a rapid heart beat and sweating while “reliving” the traumatic event
  • Feeling numb
  • Feeling emotionally detached from other people
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Avoidance of anything associated with the trauma
  • Anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Amnesia
  • A strong response when shocked
  • Extreme vigilance – Always feeling “on guard”
  • Difficulty working
  • Difficulty with social situations
  • Inability to properly care for loved ones

The onset of symptoms usually occurs within three months of the incident, but may not occur for several years.

PTSD can affect people of any age, including children.

About 7.5 percent of Americans will experience PTSD in their lifetime.

About 5 million Americans will suffer from PTSD during any year.

Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD as men.

People with PTSD oftentimes also suffer from depression or other mental disorders.

War veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMT workers are particularly vulnerable to PTSD.

All 911 survivors are at a high risk for PTSD.

Anyone with PTSD is at a high risk for suicide.

PTSD is highly treatable with a combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy.

If you or someone you know may have PTSD, please get help immediately. Make an appointment with a medical doctor and a therapist as soon as possible so you can be evaluated and receive treatment.

And if you are suicidal because of PTSD, please click below for immediate help:

If you or someone you know is suicidal because of 9/11,
please click below for immediate help:

Copyright © by Kevin Caruso and America America