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9/11 police responders experiencing PTSD: study

June 6, 2012

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New Haven, CT – One in 5 police officers involved with rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center site on 9/11 may have symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, a study from Yale University found.

Researchers assessed 8,466 police officers who worked or volunteered with the response effort and found 5.4 percent had PTSD, according to the study abstract. Additionally, 15.4 percent showed signs of subsyndromal PTSD, which means they had symptoms but did not meet the criteria for full diagnosis, stated a press release from Elsevier Health Sciences, which published the study.

Symptoms that officers reported include depression, panic disorder, alcohol use, feeling run-down and headaches. Officers with full or subsyndromal PTSD were almost 5 times as likely to say they might need mental health services, such as one-on-one counseling or medication.

Researchers emphasized the need to assess and monitor police officers after disaster exposure.

The study is scheduled to appear in the July issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

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