"If symptoms proceed past six months, then it tends to be chronic if not treated well," Thorpe said. "So, we anticipate today that many people are still suffering from PTSD, in part because perhaps they're not seeking care. One characteristic of PTSD is avoidance of the issue. People often take a year to step forward and really seek care."
And every year, as the anniversary of the disaster approaches, health-care workers often see a spike in anxiety disorders and other mental health issues among survivors.
Some 12 percent to 15 percent of people report persistent mental health problems, said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, who oversees The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. That, he added, is "amazingly similar to being in combat."
"People who didn't normally drink were drinking alcohol, people who didn't usually take drugs were taking drugs," Landrigan said. "A lot of that was a short-term phenomenon that has faded now after seven years, but there are still persistent mental health problems in a substantial proportion."
A new report from the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry, just published in the Journal of Public Health this week, finds that in the two to three years following the catastrophe, 16 percent of adults enrolled in the registry reported that they probably had PTSD, while 8 percent had severe psychological distress.
"The most common things we saw were anxiety disorders, PTSD and depression," Muller said.
According to the report, the PTSD rate was highest among people who were injured during the attacks (35 percent), low-income people (31 percent) and Hispanics (30 percent). Overall, minorities, low-income individuals and women experienced higher rates of both mental and p
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