After the events of 9/11, many Americans were left with gruesome images and horrible memories that caused them to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Co-workers had seen each other trapped in fiery buildings while others had witnessed suicides committed right before their eyes. Almost all of America had witnessed video footage of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, as well as clips of people leaping to their deaths rather than becoming trapped on the higher stories of buildings and burned alive.
These gruesome scenes were something straight out of a movie for most of the American population. However, the reality was that the images and sounds that many were exposed too were all too real and deeply disturbing, to the point of causing trauma. The events of 9/11 are just a drop in the bucket to the terrorist acts that occur each and every day throughout the world. It is not uncommon for daily news coverage to show the latest suicide bomber or report about a hostage who was taken by terrorist groups in the Middle East. All of these events form the basis for why terrorism can leave a person with post traumatic stress disorder.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Terrorist attacks often bring fear to those who are a part of them. When an individual person is fearful and in a state of panic, memories tend to be more vivid and longer lasting. Even those who are not part of a terrorist attack identify with the fear and pain that others are enduring. For example, most people remember exactly where they were when they first heard of the 9/11 attacks and most recall what the very first images of the attack were. This clearly illustrates how emotions are very much tied to a person’s memories.
Experts in the field of psychology say that the best way to cope with a terrorist attack is to rejoin the lifestyle that was previously the routine. Lean on family and friends for support and spend extra time in these social situations in order to eliminate feelings of loneliness and depression. Talk about the experience with a close friend or relative and try to begin normal eating and sleeping habits. If symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder continue, professional help should be sought.