9/11: A Decade Later: PTSD Rate Still High Among City's Survivors

9/11: A Decade Later: PTSD Rate Still High Among City's Survivors By: Bobby Cuza

A new study shows many who were exposed to the actions surrounding the September 11th attacks may still suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

New York City resident Kathleen Waters says it pains her to go back to the World Trade Center site. She hasn’t returned since a single act of terrorism brought the towers down on September 11, 2001. The legal assistant escaped with her life after running down 86 flights of stairs from her Tower Two office.

"I look at the scenes where they show the hole in the building and I’m saying to myself, 'Wow. I was right below that,'" says Waters.

A number of health experts say many survivors are still reliving the horrific events of that day. A joint study by the New York City Department of Health and Columbia University found that over 95 percent of 3,000 survivors surveyed reported at least one symptom of post traumatic stress disorder.

“Post traumatic stress disorder is a dehabilitating mental illness. It is associated with reliving the event that you experienced. It means you’re having flashbacks of the event, you’re having nightmares about the event," says Department of Epidemiology Chair at Columbia University Dr. Sandro Galea.

September 11th survivor Florence Jones says her memories of that day are still vivid. She escaped from the offices of Baseline Financial on the 77th floor of the South Tower.

“We could see cracks in the building that went all the way out. We walked through jet fuel to get out of the building. And we came out with maybe about 11 or 12 minutes to spare," recalls Jones.

With therapy, Jones has learned to deal with things that trigger disturbing memories of that day like sirens, large crowds, and the smell of jet fuel at the airport. Mental health professionals say talking it out is the way to go.

“Getting on with it is not the solution. The solution is treatment. And people need treatment to be able to get over the illness," says Dr. Galea.

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Galea recommends that those dealing with difficult feelings reach out for help.

Columbia University’s Medical Center offers free mental health services for people experiencing 9/11 related PTSD.

For more information, call (212) 543-5520 or visit www.columbiatrauma.org.

Source: http://www.ny1.com/content/special_reports/911_a_decade_later/136937/9-11--a-decade-later--ptsd-rate-still-high-among-city... (video at original post)