Effects on Emotional Health after September 11

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

On September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks on the United States undoubtedly changed history in many aspects for American society. Some astounding figures can be observed from that day, more than $60 billion in damages and material losses, $123 billion in economic losses, $15 billion dollars in aid to airlines, among others. Regarding the effects on human beings, the terrorist attacks left 2,793 dead and 1,646 unidentified people, of which, until today, 40% remain unidentified. However, what were the consequences for people’s mental health?

To begin with, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) continues to manifest itself among those who were witnesses that day. Painful memories from their experiences can cause anxiety and anguish to their tendency to avoid any situation that reminds them that day. For example, watching the news, browsing on the Internet or even going to places similar to the World Trade Center. Experts have determined that some of the most common signs of PTSD include irritability, insomnia, tremors, and headaches.

On the other hand, affected individuals may also experience depression or similar symptoms. Depression can be severe and those experiencing related symptoms should seek help. Some warning signs that might help to identify include, feelings of guilt, anxiety, anger, inability to perform basic activities such as eating or going out with friends, and undoubtedly, thoughts that can lead to suicide.

Now, it has been found that Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects a large number of people, and often is accompanied by feelings of anxiety and anguish in the face of daily activities. However, many individuals have not identified nor been diagnosed with anxiety because many of the related symptoms are common and can range from insomnia or diarrhea to sweating and even difficulty breathing.

Finally, the use of addictive substances has become another concern for American society after the events of September 11th. Many affected individuals seek to shelter themselves from the feelings they acquired that day using drugs or alcohol. This can create a deep dependence on substances and may overlook the underlying problem. It is also important to highlight that these situations are often complicated, especially when the affected seek to influence those around them to partake in similar levels of substance abuse.

The events of September 11, 2001 were regrettable, tragic, and inexplicably sad, but it is even more regrettable if we do not become aware of the lasting consequences affecting individuals to this day. The job is to build the two most important towers in our lives: physical well-being and emotional well-being.


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