Assessing The Lingering Emotional Trauma of the Manchester Arena Attack

It’s been less than 48 hours since Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, detonated a homemade bomb outside Manchester Arena, at the end of a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande. In the hours following the attack, media outlets from all over the world have been reporting on every aspect of the story, from its impact on pop music to the extent of the perpetrator’s terrorist affiliations. One element of the story that has received little to no attention; however, is the lasting emotional trauma and potential PTSD with which many of these concertgoers will be forced to contend.

When children are attacked, it strikes at the very foundation of our collective conscience and values. These individuals were targeted without having any place on the battlefield. They were people who, for the most part, have zero political alignments. Like so many of us, they just wanted to go to a concert, and instead ended up experiencing a potentially life-changing ordeal. Authorities report that 22 died and 59 were injured during the attack; however, the lasting psychological damage of seeing such a horrific chain of events unfold in person will likely affect far more witnesses for years and even decades to come.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately eight percent of the American adult population (about 24.5 million people) and millions more across the globe. It’s triggered by singular or repeated traumatic events, the memories of which sufferers can’t process without reliving them over and over. Sudden violent attacks like domestic violence, sexual assault or witnessing mass violence are some of the most common causes of this condition. PTSD can also lead to substance abuse, which is why it’s critically important that sufferers seek treatment after sustaining their trauma. About 50-66 percent of those who suffer from PTSD also battle simultaneous addiction and vice versa.

Recovery Unplugged Texas extends our sincerest and most profound condolences to the families of those lost in this senseless tragedy and wish all those injured a speedy and complete recovery. We would also like to encourage all those who are experiencing psychological issues in the aftermath of the bombing to seek professional mental health treatment immediately. You don’t have to carry this pain all by yourself. Treatment can make the difference between overcoming your trauma and letting it consume you. Let your loved ones and your therapist help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.