One area not receiving much attention is mental health and the services that will be needed to screen, identify and treat those that will suffer greatly from surviving a bioterrorist event not to mention the millions of Americans some experts predict will need treatment for psychological trauma suffered on September 11, 2001. PTSD is the inability to cope and function in daily life following a traumatic event. The most common symptoms include:
- Re-living the event through recurring nightmares or other intrusive images that occur at any time. People who suffer from PTSD also have extreme emotional or physical reactions such as chills, heart palpitations or panic when faced with reminders of the event.
- Avoiding reminders of the event, including places, people, thoughts or other activities associated with the trauma. PTSD sufferers may feel emotionally detached, withdraw from friends and family, and lose interest in everyday activities.
- Being on guard or being hyper-aroused at all times, including feeling irritability or sudden anger, having difficulty sleeping or concentrating, or being overly alert or easily startled.
A psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker or other qualified healthcare professional who provides counseling related to trauma can identify whether a person has PTSD and can discuss options for appropriate treatment. If you believe you are suffering from PTSD contact your primary health care provider to discuss your situation. For more in-depth information, visit Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance.