Social Work Programs

September 13, 2011

September 11 and PTSD

Filed under: september 11 and trauma — Tags: — admin @ 1:57 am

september 11 and ptsd Yesterday was a painful day as many of us listened to survivors of the Sept 11th attack by Terrorists 10 years ago. There were also many interviews with family members still coping with the loss of a loved one. There is a lot of trauma that is still being processed by so many people from this terrifying and devastating attack on our country.

A psychologist, Dr. Wakschal, director of Victory Behavioral Health stated, “It’s not complicated for post-traumatic stress to occur. “All you need is exposure to a situation where death is a possibility, where during that time you had a sense of helplessness or horror, and also felt that escape was difficult or impossible,” he explained.


PTSD can occur around trauma that involves death as well as situations such as abuse, war and other terrifying situations. The reactions may not occur for months or years later. One can be numb for a while or in denial. I’ve seen psychotherapy clients who were abused as children that in their thirties and forties first felt a sense of being overwhelmed.

In watching the history channel yesterday, there was one account of a lawyer’s gratitude for the fireman that helped him get out of the Marriott hotel. He attributed his survival to the fireman. The fireman was very humble when interviewed and focused so much on the loss of his colleague who did not get out of the Marriott because he was trying to help others and left the stairwell they were in.

Each story was full of so much depth and sadness. The connection with others and the community that developed was an unexpected outcome. So many boats came into Battery Park area to help the survivors leave for New Jersey and other areas during this terrifying crisis.

PTSD is serious and many people continue to have terrifying nightmares, sleep issues and feel detached or withdrawn around others. Numbing is sometimes the only way we can cope with something too big for our mind’s too grasp and too painful to process. Sharing with others can be very healing and whether this is done in individual counseling or group settings, it is important to do. One can feel it is only going to create more stress, but it also creates a connection with others and breaks one out of isolation. This itself is healing and enables one to get back into life, even though things will never be as they were.

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