|Psychiatric Consequences of WTC collapse and the Gulf War
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
May-June 2003, 1(1):5-12
Along with political, economic, ethical, rehabilitative and military dimensions, psychopathological sequelae of war and terrorism also deserve our attention. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre ( W.T.C.) in 2001 and the Gulf War of 1990-91 gave rise to a number of psychiatric disturbances in the population, both adult and children, mainly in the form of Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD). Nearly 75,000 people suffered psychological problems in South Manhattan alone due to that one terrorist attack on the WTC in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. In Gulf War I, more that 1,00,000 US veterans reported a number of health problems on returning from war, whose claims the concerned government has denied in more than 90% cases. Extensive and comprehensive neurological damage to the brain of Gulf War I veterans has been reported by one study, as has damage to the basal ganglia in another, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in a third, possibly due to genetic mutations induced by exposure to biological and chemical agents, fumes from burning oil wells, landfills, mustard or other nerve gases. The recent Gulf War will no doubt give rise its own crop of PTSD and related disorders. In a cost-benefit analysis of the post Gulf War II scenario, the psychopathological effects of war and terrorism should become part of the social audit any civilized society engages in. Enlightened public opinion must become aware of the wider ramifications of war and terrorism so that appropriate action plans can be worked out.
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