Asthma, PTSD, and Other Health Effects of 9/11

U.S. News & World Report
September 11, 2008

An analysis of the health of 71,437 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry shows that many of them may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Included in the registry—which was started in 2003 to track mental and physical health effects of 9/11—are rescue and recovery workers, commuters, area workers, Lower Manhattan residents, and passersby.

Two to three years after 9/11, 3 percent of adults enrolled in the registry reported new onset of asthma since the attacks, 16 percent had likely experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, and 8 percent endured severe psychological distress. Rescue and recovery workers experienced the highest rate of asthma, and post-traumatic stress disorder was more common among those who were injured and in Hispanics and low-income registry participants. Overall, women, minorities, and low-income participants had higher rates of physical and mental problems.

In June, a study found that exposure therapy may be helpful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. An assessment released in April reported that nearly 1 in 5 Iraq veterans report having signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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