Azara Blog: Terrorist attacks increase stress

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Date published: 2007/02/04

The BBC says:

Terrorist attacks have widespread effects on people's mental health even when they are not directly involved or are far away at the time, experts say.

A team from University College, London, reviewed existing studies into the effects of attacks.

They found that after an attack in an urban area, 11 to 13% of the general population may suffer post-traumatic stress during the following six weeks.

Experts said the study showed it was vital to assess the impact of attacks.

In the review, Chris Brewin, professor of clinical psychology at University College London found that 30-40% of people directly affected by terrorist action are likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and at least 20% still experience symptoms two years later.

These include intrusive memories and nightmares, sleep disturbance, and irritability.

People suffering from PTSD also tend to be jumpy and on edge.
Professor Brewin said intense media coverage, such as the repeated images of the 9/11 attacks, could increase general levels of stress.

Surprise, terrorist attacks cause stress. Who would have thought it. Hopefully the UK will not go down the US route, where everyone is deemed to require a shrink. And no doubt the media does increase stress levels, that is the entire point of their coverage, to be as hysterical and sensationalist as possible in order to gain viewers. (The government loves it too, because it helps them sell more and more draconian laws.)

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