Interestingly yesterday I just mentioned the 911 incident, and today I read an abstract on the impact of it on the people, even after 6 years.

A new study finds that many of the emergency responders to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center still suffer from mental and physical illnesses, including sleep problems. The study was based on medical and psychiatric evaluations of 1,423 employees from a variety of New York State agencies, including New York State Police, National Guard and Department of Transportation – a group that had less exposure to the harmful conditions at Ground Zero than New York City police or firefighters. The results showed that nearly half of the state workers had respiratory problems and that one-third suffered from psychological symptoms, the most common of which were sleep problems, fatigue and irritability. The results also showed that only 3% of those affected by psychological symptoms had received any treatment.

Also, advance results from the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll (conducted in October-November 2001) indicate that a significant number of people have had sleep problems since September 11. A total of 47% of those responding to the national survey rated their sleep in the few nights following 9/11 as “fair” or “poor”. Of those who woke a lot during the night, 71% attributed the problem to stress or anxiety; 33% to fear; 32% to depression; and 23% to bad dreams.

A woman who lives in New York City about two blocks from the World Trade Center disaster site said in October she had not been able to sleep at all since the attack. “Before September 11, I had no trouble getting to sleep or sleeping throughout the night,” she said. “Since September 11, I have insomnia and haven’t slept more than 10 hours a week.”

Meanwhile, prescriptions for antidepressants increased 16 percent during the last two weeks of September over the same period last year, according to NDCHealth of Atlanta, a national health information organization. Prescriptions for anxiety drugs and sleep aids rose seven percent over the same period, compared with sales in 2000.

We Singaporeans go on with our lives as if nothing much has happened while many in USA still live in fear. As always, I’m very glad to be living in Singapore.

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