Psychological Impact of Terrorist Threat

There has been an increasing amount of research about the effects of terrorism on people’s mental health since the 9/11 attack. While some people were able to recover quickly from these traumatic events, some people developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During terror attacks, the victims and their families, rescue workers, and people who live in a city that was attacked are more at risk of experiencing PTSD. Even those who weren’t involved in the terror attack may also be affected. In fact, studies suggest that terrorism and deliberate violence can have a major impact on people’s mental health. In fact, it was reported that 17% of the entire U.S. population experienced symptoms that are related to PTSD after 9/11 attack. The good news is that it dropped to 5.6% within 6 months.

A series of coordinated attacks this year left hundreds of people dead. Because of this, cities go on alert for fear of threat of future attacks. This leaves people feeling more vulnerable. It erodes their sense of safety and security, both in terms of an individual and community level. People would watch, listen, and read news related to these attacks. This adds to their anxiety. Some may find themselves suddenly startled for no apparent reasons. Some may also experience nightmares.

We are well aware of the fact that constant stress due to terror attacks can lead to anxiety and PTSD. But what most people don’t realize is that it can also lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and even death. Living with everyday fear and stress can increase one’s heart rate. Seek professional help if you notice changes in your heart rate.

Whether we like it or not, we are likely to experience such events in the future. No, this is not a scare tactic. Rather, I’d like you to look at these events in a more rational manner. We all need to prepare and think about how we can cope psychologically with terror attacks.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or if you’re suffering from chronic stress, do not hesitate to seek professional help.