Today an event can be safely described as one of the country’s most painful coming-of-age moments officially becomes an adult, itself. On the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Recovery Unplugged extends our renewed and enduring sympathies to anyone who lost a loved one or friend on that day or in its aftermath. We also recognize the profound and life-changing mental health issues with which 9/11 survivors and mourners have had to contend. In the years following the attacks, thousands of people who were affected suffered differing degrees of mental health issues. Data published by the New York State Psychiatric Institute indicates that four to six weeks after attacks, 10 percent of New Yorkers and over four percent of Americans met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Enduring Physical and Mental Health Impact of 9/11
A recent comprehensive study conducted by the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene outlines the vast and persistent physical and mental health impact of the 9-11 attacks. These include a wide range of conditions, such as asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Nearly half of participants in the study reported having developed at least one of the physical or mental health conditions studied by 2015–2016; comorbidity among conditions was incredibly common. PTSD, depression and chronic pain (a condition commonly reported among first responders), are primary predictors for alcohol and drug use disorder.
Which Brings Us to Today…
The New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also reports higher rates of alcohol use and other types of substance use disorder even years after exposure to the 9-11 trauma. A 2014 study found that 9/11 exposure had an impact on frequent binge drinking five-to-six years later. The long-term impact of 9/11 on mental health has been well documented and if you or someone you care about continues to struggle in the stinging aftermath of this tragedy, Recovery Unplugged implores you to seek help immediately. We reiterate our condolences to those who lost someone in the attacks and in the subsequent recovery.