If you look up the death count for the 9/11 tragedy, you’ll find that close to 3,000 people were killed. If you look a little closer, you’ll realize that it’s not that simple. The impact of the events that occurred that day had a ripple effect that still affects many people to this day. Following any traumatic event, some survivors are plagued with mental health problems that sometimes end in death. When it comes to traumatic events, you have to think about the people involved and not just the statistics in order to fully understand its effects.
Understanding PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
After 9/11, there was an extraordinary rise in the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While it’s common to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression after an event like that, with PTSD those symptoms linger for a lot longer and sometimes never go away. It is hard to treat PTSD; there isn’t a magic pill that will cure it. It usually takes years of therapy to learn how to manage your symptoms. Anxiety medicines, antidepressants, and antipsychotics can help ease symptoms for some people, but you still need to put in some work to fully recover. Some people are never able to overcome PTSD as a result of improper treatment.
The severity of symptoms and the length of time it can take to recover can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Many sufferers turn to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol to ease their pain. While this may bring them comfort in the short-term, the long-term effects can be terrifying. When people use substances to cover up memories of past events, it is easy to accidentally overdose. You’re usually not thinking clearly and sometimes feel like you’re not in your own body. Whether it’s accidental or on purpose, it’s very easy to take more than your body can handle. All of these deaths are indirectly caused by 9/11, but they’re usually forgotten about because they occur years later. Addiction, like many other mental illnesses, needs to be taken seriously. Addicts need to be met with understanding instead of judgment and shame. With the right treatment, so many deaths can be avoided.
PTSD can also cause other forms of self-destruction. Many of people with PTSD end up turning to cutting and other forms of self-harm. This doesn’t always lead to death, but it certainly has the potential to. If you cut a little too deep, you can bleed out; if you don’t clean a burn properly, it can get infected. There are many risks when it comes to self-destructive behavior. It’s easy to get lost in the moment and accidentally hurt yourself more than you mean to.
There are so many ways that 9/11 is more than just the statistics reported. So many people are still suffering as a result of that day’s events. People still wake up in the morning and have flashbacks of that day. The sad truth is that the death toll is still rising as a result of 9/11.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a co-occurring disorder such as drug or alcohol addiction and PTSD help is available. Call us today at (877) 968-6283 to get started on your road to recovery.
By Kari Ann Fallon