10K 9/11 Witnesses Grapple With PTSD

45 minutes of treatment can cost $135 to $165
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2011 1:11 PM CDT
A large American flag flies over workers at ground zero of the World Trade Center attack 18 September 2001, in New York.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – As the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 nears, the New York Times takes a look at one of the many groups of Americans still touched by—and suffering from—the experience: those with post-traumatic stress disorder. At least 10,000 witnesses developed PTSD, and many are still grappling with it, according to one interpretation of numbers provided by three 9/11 health programs based in NYC. The city's health department, which the Times notes would likely be looking for as much treatment funding from Congress as possible, estimates that 61,000 of the 409,000 people in the disaster area experienced "probable" PTSD in the six years following 9/11.

Person after person describes similar symptoms: trouble sleeping and concentrating, jittery behavior, overreaction to loud noises, feelings that range from guilt to isolation—and scenes of 9/11 that replay in their thoughts and nightmares. Millions will likely be spent treating them (unlike first responders who suffer from physical ailments, they won't receive compensation). But to ensure that, as one fellow at the Manhattan Institute told the House Judiciary Committee in 2008, taxpayers don't "end up paying for psychotherapy for Woody Allen and half of Manhattan," treatment is only covered for specific groups, including office workers exposed to 9/11 dust.

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