Stress disorders

PTSD High Among Witnesses to 9/11

Friday, June 13, 2008; 12:00 AM

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Two to three years after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, one in eight residents who lived near the site had signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a New York City Health Department study reports.

This rate, 12.6 percent, among Lower Manhattan residents is three times the usual rate and matches the 12.4 percent rate reported among rescue and recovery workers. Residents who were injured during the attacks had the highest rate of PTSD symptoms (38 percent), followed by those who witnessed violent deaths and those caught in the dust cloud after the towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The most commonly reported PTSD symptoms were hyper-vigilance, nightmares and emotional reactions to reminders of 9/11.

The study, based on surveys of 11,000 residents through the World Trade Center Health Registry, also found that divorced people reported PTSD symptoms at twice the rate of married people (21.5 percent vs. 9.5 percent), possibly because divorced people received less emotional support, the researchers suggested.

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