x

Find the Right Therapist

Find the Right Therapist

Advanced Search | Don't show me this again.

 

Respiratory Illness and PTSD in 9/11 First Responders

 

Firefighters, police, and emergency medical personnel spent countless hours at ground zero in the weeks following 9/11. They were exposed to trauma, stress, and toxins that caused mental and physical health damage. The World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (WTC-MMTP) reported that almost half of the first responders they treated had respiratory problems in the year following 9/11. Rates of posttraumatic stress (PTSD) were nearly three times that of non-WTC emergency workers. Respiratory function and PTSD are the two most prevalent consequences among the WTC workers. Understanding their impact on each other could influence the direction of treatment programs for these workers.

Benjamin J. Luft of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the State University of New York at Stony Brook sought to determine the rate of comorbidity of PTSD and respiratory illness among WTC workers compared to other first responders. He recently led a study that examined the medical data from the WTC-MMTP. The data were from 8,508 police officers and over 12,000 nonpolice emergency personnel. After analyzing the data, Luft found that the police had much lower rates of PTSD than the nonpolice responders, 5.9% compared to 23%. He also discovered that they had slightly lower rates of respiratory illness as well, 22% compared to 28%. These findings suggest that exposure to the dust cloud at ground zero is related to both PTSD and respiratory problems. But whether the cloud resulted in respiratory problems that exacerbated PTSD symptoms or whether the PTSD symptoms increased respiratory impairment is still unclear. Luft said, “Regardless of which came first, PTSD or respiratory symptoms, our findings emphasize that mental health screening is as essential as screening for respiratory symptoms.” In sum, the results of this study provide support for existing treatment approaches that focus on both the physical and psychological damage resulting from the aftermath of 9/11.

Reference:
Luft, B. J., Schechter, C., Kotov, R., Broihier, J., Reissman, D. (2012). Exposure, probable PTSD and lower respiratory illness among World Trade Center rescue, recovery and clean-up workers. Psychological Medicine, 42.5, 1069-1079.

© Copyright 2012 by www.GoodTherapy.org - All Rights Reserved.

Sign up for the GoodTherapy.org Newsletter!
Get weekly mental health and wellness news and information sent straight to your inbox!

  • Find the Right Therapist
  • Join GoodTherapy.org - Therapist Only
Comments
  • Jacob May 25th, 2012 at 1:37 PM #1

    Firefighters really got the short end of the stick when it comes to 9/11 and the suffering from that huh? They were the ones who got in their busted their butts to save so many lives and in return many of them lost their own lives or got illnesses that can’t just be treatted overnight. And this is 10,11 years out, and things are still cropping up.

  • lilly May 26th, 2012 at 12:55 AM #2

    this seems to have gotten people’s attention over ten years after it actually happen.many of these first responders have even passed as a result of these issues.

    are our first responders not given adequate protection during their operations? what are their conditions now? has anything improved? these are also questions that need to be raised.

  • danny dobbs May 26th, 2012 at 5:48 AM #3

    I can’t even begin to imagine the orrors encountered by all of the first responders to the scene on that fateful day. There was mass confusion, terror, and more than likely the realization that many people were not going to make it out of those towers alive. I feel for those who survived as much as I feel for the families who lost friends and loved ones in the days and weeks that followed. If anyone is going to experience trauma from an event, it would have to be those who went in thinking that they could save so many and wound up just trying to fight for one or two ,lives or maybe just their own. How they would sleep at night and get over those nightmares must only be through sheer will because I don’t know that I could get over an experience like that.

  • Paulette May 28th, 2012 at 7:12 AM #4

    I lost my brother in law on that day and my sister lost her husband.
    No, he didn’t die, but I think that a part of him died on the inside on that day.
    He was one of the police officers on the scene. And I really think that it took something out of him that we will never get back.
    I feel for all of them because I know what a struggle it is for that family now, he relives it every day.
    Nut how do we get him to see that he needs help? That therapy would be so beneficial to all of them?

  • linda c May 17th, 2015 at 12:34 PM #5

    i was a volunteer first responder. progressive respiratory issues and all the rest of that package so many of us must deal with.

    i was at the wtc clinic filing out forms and realized it was bringing things up in me i had never thought about. spoken about.. to anyone, what it was like down there, how it felt. i havent allowed myself to feel, touch that… that was three years ago..

    at this moment i am desperate for help in dealing with this , it must come out, and it feels like its killing me as much as the physical.

    at the wtc clinic they refused to give me counseling saying i should go to an emergency room doctor if i so urgently needed help.so i closed it all up again.

    cannot physically go anywhere at this time.

    im asking anyone out there for help in finding counseling by phone or skype. thank you

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team May 17th, 2015 at 7:15 PM #6

    Thank you for your comment, Linda. If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. You can search for therapists who can do therapy over the phone or online through our Advanced Search. Just narrow the area to your State, and under “Type of Service,” you can pick “Online Counseling / Phone Therapy.” http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Warm Regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Support Team

Leave a Reply

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

 

 

 

* = Required fields

Find the Right Therapist

Advanced Search | Browse Locations

Title Content Author
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.

Recent Comments

  • T: I’m the same. I hate it. The world is cold… Stay strong babe xxx
  • The GoodTherapy.org Team: Thank you for your comment, Lisa. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have...
  • ellen: While my husband and I both admit we are flawed and have unhealthy childhood attachments, my unhealthy jealousy has gone full force since...
  • Wendy K: Well, I’m not a therapist but as someone who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (which thankfully is not nearly as...
  • Dee: I want so much to just have one friend.My only friend is in N,C.I am so lonely most days,I feel the pain will never end.