Running Head: Consequences of 9/11 Serious Consequences of September 11th Kristen Brobst The University Of Findlay Abstract This literature review examines five scholarly journal articles that thoroughly address how citizens across the nation were scarred forever, after the 2001 September 11th terrorist attack, which negatively impacted the entire United States. This community wide disaster was a life changing event which physically, mentally, and emotionally impacted thousands of people’s lives. Many disorders were developed from this tragic event, including post traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, and depression.
Imagine standing on the ground watching two of the highest towers in New York City, standing at one thousand three-hundred sixty-eight feet high, fall right before your eyes. Horrifying, right? The 2001 attack was a life changing event, which physically, mentally, and emotionally impacted citizens in dramatic ways. That Tuesday September ninth morning, around 8:45AM, New York City was under attack. The attacks consisted of a series of coordinated suicide bombings by Al-Qaeda upon the United States. On that day, nineteen Islamist terrorists’ affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airlines.
The hijackers intentionally flew two of the commercial airliners, American Airline Flight 11 and United Airline Flight 175, into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center Complex in New York City. It instantly killed everyone on board, hundreds of others working in the buildings, and trapping even more people in the higher floors of the towers. Within two hours, both twin towers collapsed, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The attack killed nearly three thousand people that day “(9/11 Attacks, para. #2)”. After the September 11th terrorist attack, Americans were scarred forever.
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The survivors, residents, and citizens of the community-wide disaster are suffering various health problems because of this traumatic experience. Analysis of five scholarly journal articles found through library databases, the authors reveal how the citizens’ lives were negatively impacted from the attack of terrorism. In a research article Alcohol use, Mental Health Status and Psychological Well-being 2 Years After the World Trade Center Attacks in New York City by Richard Adams, Joseph Boscarino, and Sandro Galea (2006), three surveys were conducted to guide their study.
The authors’ hypothesized how these disorders developed from the attack impacted individuals. The surveys were sent out by telephone using random digit dialing where they could reach citizens that were affected. To be eligible to answer the survey questions, an adult was selected based on the person with the most recent birthday in the household, and they had to speak English or Spanish for the surveyors to understand their responses. The article states that “They conducted surveys in October of 2002, in October 2003 another survey was sent out and the last survey sent out was in February of 2004,” (Adams et al, 2006, p. 06). The procedures and questions were all the same throughout each survey; nothing was different. Surveyors were interviewed and monitored throughout the survey to make sure the surveys were accurate. Within the survey, people were tested on various subjects. The conductors of this survey tested the association between alcohol use and the severity of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms due to the terrorist attack. “All together four thousand-forty nine people completed the surveys,” (Adams et al, p. 206). This amount of people completing this survey is very high.
In the first survey, they asked respondents whether their symptoms had bothered them or not. If they said no, they got a zero, but if they said somewhat, or not at all, their results were recorded between zero and six. Furthermore, if they answered a little bit, or a lot, they scored between seven and ten. In follow up, if their score was between seven and ten, then it was considered a serious case in which they had to do something about it (Adams et al, p. 207). To complete the criteria of this survey, people had to meet certain symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
Many of the people did not meet the complete criteria of post traumatic stress disorder, so they had to broaden the survey. The symptoms that people needed to possess were re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of thoughts or places related to the event, and arousal. The participants were then judged according to how many of these symptoms that they presented with. They qualified for full post traumatic stress disorder if they held two or more of these traits. The respondents were considered partial post traumatic stress disorder if they only met one or two of them.
They said “Twenty percent of the respondents were classified for post traumatic stress disorder from the attack. Eight percent had partial post traumatic stress disorder and ten percent had high post traumatic stress disorder,” (Adams et al, p. 213). As you can see, many people obtained this disorder from this attack. More of the participants were classified as having higher amplitude of this disorder than having only partial. This terrorist attack affected many people, not only in gaining post traumatic stress disorder, but also in various other ways.
The next survey studied alcoholism, which was gained from the terrorist attack. The surveyors questioned how many times had the participant drank six or more alcoholic beverages in one dining after the 2001 attack. The answers they could have chosen were: never, less than, or monthly. “Fifteen percent met the criteria for binge drinking. Five percent met the criteria for alcohol dependence and ten percent were reported as an increase of four or more days drinking per month,” (Adams et al, p. 213). Furthermore, people developed a problem with drinking due to the attack. More people were seen binge drinking than any other kind.
After the September 11th attack, studies have shown that there was an increase in the amount of alcohol people consumed compared to before the attack. The traumatic event that the citizens experienced led them to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Not only did alcohol increase after the attack, but psychological problems began to elevate. The final survey that was sent out studied psychological disorders, such as depression. When studying depression, a person had to present with five or more symptoms for at least two weeks in the last year. This meant they were diagnosed with a depressive disorder.
Examples of these symptoms are: stress, emotional problems during the day, feeling depressed, always down, in a bad mood, and says negative things (Adams et al, p. 208). The studies showed that “Twelve percent of the respondents had major depression, and approximately nine percent were described as unhealthy,” (Adams et al, p. 213). These people needed to seek help from a physician. This attack had a major impact of the mental health of the people affected. Adams et al are not the only people who studied these types of disorders that were developed after the 9/11 attack.
Similarly in with Adams et al, in an article Disaster and Trauma James Bakalar (2002) studies post traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in connection to 9/11. He gathered information from other studies on the topic from a survey that was sent out after the attack questioning “how many people had symptoms of depression, troubles falling asleep at night, and had trouble concentrating,” (Bakalar, 2002, p. 1). The study had shown that the number of prescribed sleeping medicine and antidepressants had arisen exceedingly since the September 11th attack because of paranoia.
People were worried about what might happen next and if they were safe at night. They were having troubles falling asleep at night due to over thinking of the horrifying tragedy. The damage that the attack left behind had initiated symptoms of depression on the people. Symptoms of depression are anxiety, nervousness, feeling down, and or sad. These were not the only emotions people were feeling. The community wide attack left several others feeling emotions of helplessness, scared and freighted. These are a common sign of post traumatic stress disorder.
It often increases blood flow and produces an excessive amount of adrenaline making the heart pump more rapidly. Bakalar states how respondents should overcome post traumatic stress disorder with some tactics. Victims should join a support group in which others have the same disorder as well where they all talk about the problem. Bakalar goes on to say, “they give meaning to their experience by telling their stories and listening to other victims whose similar experiences promote understanding and sympathy,” (Bakalar, p. 4). This can help them to relate to one another, so they have a better understanding about what they are going through.
It helps to talk about feelings that are held inside, and to retell the story over again to listeners that have similar stories. Talking with others that have the same problem or symptoms helps the respondents become more comfortable with themselves because they are not the only one with this problem. To help patients move beyond these feelings due to trauma from the disaster, they should continue normal everyday activities. The author addressed that “They should have confidence in the future to get on with their lives, and they should keep faith in everyday activities,” (Bakalar, p. 5).
This will help the victims to break free from their past experiences and keeping busy will help distract the negative feelings in order to overcome the symptoms. This is just a few ways to overcome the psychological impact of the September 11th attack. Additionally with Adams et al and Bakalar, in the research article titled The Emotional Distress in a Community after the Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center by Teddy Chen, Henry Chung, Chen Hongtu, Chen Jian-Ping, and Fang Lin (2003). They hypothesized how the short term psychological impacts of the September 11th attack affected the immediate neighborhood of the world trade center.
The surveys they sent out were displayed in a waiting area for random citizens to fill out. They surveyed emotional responses of the survivors within the week that it happened and then again five months later to show more accurate statistics. The results showed that “Five hundred fifty-five community residents or eighty-eight percent of the citizens completed the survey,” (Chen et al, 2003, p. 159). The age group of the participants ranged from eight years old to eighty-six years old. The average age groups of the participants were around forty years old.
He states that “Results of the first survey that was sent out a few weeks after the disaster showed eighty-eight percent of the respondents had one or more psychiatric symptoms. Over half the community residents had four or more symptoms that dealt with emotional distress. The survey that was sent out five months later showed only fifty-three of the respondents had one or more emotional distress symptom,” (Chen et al, p. 159). The 9/11 attack proved to be the reason that half the community has consistently had at least one symptom of emotional distress.
As time went on the emotional distress seemed to dissipate. Although this problem seemed to dissolve, it had a serious impact on people. The study illustrated that the emotional distress had a more serious impact on the full-grown adults around the ages of forty through fifty-nine than it had on any of the other age groups. The symptoms they had were: anxiety, nervousness, low self esteem, sadness, and depression. “These symptoms demonstrated the tremendous psychological trauma caused by this disaster,” (Chen et al, p. 161).
The trauma from the attack placed a burden on a person that was not apparent before. Several months after the attack had happened the community was still suffering from these symptoms. Studies conducted that “Less than four percent of the people received help from a mental health professional,” (Chen et al, p. 162). Many of the residents would not seek help in counseling because they thought that time would just heal them. In result, the study had shown that the terrorist attack impacted the immediate neighborhoods, which were the residents that live closer to the world trade center.
These residents had higher levels of emotional distress within the first few weeks that the attack occurred. With the destruction in the city that the attack left behind, it is not astounding that these high results in emotional distress would appear because of this traumatic, unimaginable event. Each situation impacted the people in a negative way. In comparison, In the article When a terrorist Attacks: September 11 and the Impact on Older Adults in New York City Igal Jellinek and Judy Willig (2007) address the terrorist attack focusing mainly on how the elderly were impacted in a negative way in New York City.
Jellinek and Willig specifically target how the attack personally impacted the older adults that were nearby Manhattan. These citizens were paying a vast amount of money to live there because of the scenic view. The beautiful scene of the Manhattan skyline lit up New York City, but in just seconds it was demolished from the attack. The view of that skyline was distorted that September 11th day, and the senior citizens would never see that stunning view again. Many of the older adults were worried about the problems that they would soon face.
Jellinek and Willig conducted a survey that was sent out to clients, staff, and several different agencies to see who was worried about safety, who had lost loved ones, and who had no one close to vent to. Results of the survey had shown that everyone was worried about their safety, and no one felt safe where they were. Since the attack hit so close to their homes, everyone was left worried about what was going to happen next. Everyone was upset and damaged from this disaster. The authors stated “The community all needed counseling or just someone to talk to” (Jellinek and Willig, 2007, p. 3). The attack impacted the elderly more direct and personally than anyone. The older adults lost loved ones, neighbors, and many close friends that they have known for years. All they had left were the memories. Not only did the attack affect them mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. When the attack hit, the elderly residents were in shock and devastated. Their daily routines were rudely interrupted by the attack. The older adults were unable to get care and the attention they were provided with on a daily basis. They could not receive supplies or help that was needed due to ecurity reasons; everything was on lock down. These restrictions prevented the older adults from meeting their personal needs. This was very hard for the older adults to cope with. For some of the older adults, the terrorist attack had refueled traumas from years back, making it hard for them to cope with what was going on. Not seeing those trade towers that stood there every day made the attack vividly come back to mind. The elderly could not physically see the trade towers standing, but they could visualize how they once stood in the city of New York.
Viewing the scene of the skyline, noticing that the towers were gone, made the citizens realize how real the tragedy was. Supporting Jellinek, Willig, and the other three scholarly journal articles, in the article September 11th and the Mourning After: Media Narrating Grief, written by Adi Drori-Avraham (2006). He focuses on the impact of grieving and mourning of the citizens across the United States due to the tragedy. Drori-Avraham concentrates on the two different types of mourning that the New York City residents could be in or were about to experience.
He states, “The good kind of mourning is a movement forward driven by a passion for meaning. ” In other words, people need to let go of the loss and move on to a healthy future. The bad kind of mourning is called “melancholia, which is destructive grieving,” (Drori-Avraham, 2006, p. 289). This is the opposite of making one’s life meaningful again. Drori-Avraham mentions an exceptional example of unhealthy grieving. The unhealthy grieving is when New York City employees, tourists, and picture takers are capturing those last moments of the world trade center. These pictures are capturing the memories of what the United States has lost.
The city residents that pass by the location of the falling twin towers are now walking by passing the devastating site everyday in order to return back to work. The residents are grieving at the site that was once miraculous. When tourists are there taking pictures and pointing out the memories of loved ones that have been lost, the residents are yet again reminded about that iniquitous day. As the community residents walk by day by day they are constantly reminded about the unexpected tragedy on September 11th. When thousands of people die many thousands are left in the state of mourning.
This is a natural occurrence when lives are lost. It is a very upsetting time for everyone in the nation. Even normal grief can be prolonged for a long time when a community wide disaster takes place. Hurtful memories and photographs from the attack may still be present. Certain sounds or experiences may resemble the terrorist attack. This day with never be forgotten. The mass terrorist attack on the nation has impacted and changed many people’s lives because of the trauma they had perceived on that day. Post traumatic stress disorder is just one problem people developed from the attack.
Another problem that was developed from the tragedy is depression. Several scientists also concluded that alcoholism is another trait that people acquired from the attack. Overall this attack has negatively impacted several people. I believe that in the future there should be more professional counselors willing to reach out and help others going through these disorders. References Adams, R. , Boscarino, J. , & Galea, S. 2006. Alcohol Use, Mental Health Status and Psychological Well-being 2 Years After the World Trade Center Attacks in New York City.
American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse. 32(2), 203-224. Retrieved from http://metis. findlay. edu:2066/login. aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=20380132&site=ehost-live Bakalar, J 2002. Disaster and Trauma. Harvard Mental Health Letter. 18(7), 1-5. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=5762387&site=ehost-live Drori, A. 2006. September 11th and the Mourning After: Media Narrating Grief. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 20(3), 289-297. Doi: 10. 1080/10304310600814110 Hongtu C. , Chung, H. Chen, T. ,Lin, F. , & Jian-Ping, C. 2003. The Emotional Distress in a Community After the Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center. Community Mental Health Journal. 39(2), 157-165. Retrieved from http://metis. findlay. edu:2066/login. aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9450651&site=ehost-live Jellinek, I. & Willig, J. 2007. When a Terrorist Attacks: September 11 and the Impact on Older Adults in New York City. Generations. 31(4), 42-46. Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31633966&site=ehost-live
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