After the Trauma: How to Manage Anxiety and Stress
Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks many people continue to struggle with symptoms of anxiety, stress and even posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The publicity and events surrounding the 10th anniversary of the attacks in New York and Washington, DC, may trigger anxious thoughts and feelings in more than a few people. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) provides free resources to help children and adults manage and overcome PTSD and other anxiety and related disorders.
PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, including a terrorist attack like 9/11; combat; earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster; serious auto or plane accidents; personal assault or abuse; or the sudden death of a loved one.
Symptoms may include flashbacks and nightmares; emotional numbness and avoidance; difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated. Most people recover from their experiences, but people who have PTSD continue to be severely depressed and anxious for months—or even years—following the event.
Five new videos give viewers information about PTSD: how it affects the general population, including children, as well as those in military and their family members. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses treatments that are effective and how to help loved ones suffering with PTSD.
Because children react differently than adults to the effects of trauma, the ADAA website offers practical advice on how to help your child manage traumatic events. Dr. Aureen Wagner, Director of The Anxiety Wellness Center in Cary, NC, says that if your children is traumatized, “Remain as calm as possible. Explain a traumatic event as accurately as possible, but don’t give graphic details. It’s best not to give more information than your child asks for. Let your child know that it is normal to feel upset, scared or angry.”
Also on the website is a podcast with Dr. Judith Cohen, Medical Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children & Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, explains how children experience PTSD and treatments that are particularly effective for them.
Available for the asking is a free copy of “A Handbook for Family & Friends of Service Members — Before, During & After Deployment” (Defense Centers of Excellence, 2010), as well as brochures about treatment, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and depression are available online.People interested in finding therapists who specialize in anxiety can search in the ADAA Find a Therapist database.