For those of us who were living in New York or Washington on September 11th, 2001, and for those of us who were otherwise affected by the events of that day, each anniversary of that date can bring its own difficult memories. It is not uncommon for those who were affected by 9/11 to experience an increase in certain unpleasant symptoms on anniversaries of 9/11/01. These can include troubling memories, dreams or nightmares, anxiety, avoidance of reminders of 9/11, feeling emotionally “numb,” depression, or increased alertness (sometimes described as feeling overly “on guard”). These are symptoms of posttraumatic anxiety. For some people, these symptoms get worse over time, but for others they improve. For many, drug and alcohol use emerge as a way to cope with the symptoms.
The New York City Health Department is sponsoring a program to help people suffering from these symptoms. This program pays for psychotherapy for persons who were affected by 9/11, even if only indirectly. This program is only for current residents of New York City. If you have some of the symptoms described above and have not already sought help, consider this program. While seeking help can sometimes be a hard step to take, it’s never too late to address posttraumatic anxiety.