The American Psyche, Post-9/11
How 9/11 Changed Us
Elusive "Quick Fixes" continued...
Carol North, MD, professor of psychiatry at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis, concurs. "Feelings of upset
tend to lessen over time," she says. But that isn't always the case. In the
year following 9/11, there has been a steady stream of incidents -- from the
anthrax-tainted letters to the "shoe bomber" to the warnings from
government officials to remain vigilant -- that have many people in what North
calls "a state of constant unrest."
When healing does occur, many psychologists acknowledge that it
takes time and can't be rushed. "If you had a broken leg and I pushed you
to run a marathon in two weeks, everyone would think I was mad," says
Danieli. "But somehow, after such a massive trauma as Sept. 11, rapid
healing is expected, even though it is unwise and detrimental."
People who still feel traumatized by the events of Sept. 11
should seek professional help, according to most experts. A number of
treatments are being used for PTSD, including psychotherapy and medications
(such as antidepressant drugs). But, cautions Schlenger, "for long-term
cases, treatment focuses more on the management of symptoms rather than 'we're
going to get over this altogether.'"