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In Their Own Words: Psychiatrists in New York and Washington Share Their Experiences of the Past Month
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 20 page 9-9

WE HAVE BEEN VERY BUSY, I'm afraid, since the World Trade Center disaster, helping families and workers both at our Family Assistance Center and also downtown in the "hot zone."

The people we have helped have had many more "normal" reactions than abnormal ones—lots of insomnia, general anxiety, nightmares, problems with concentrating, loss of appetite. But there have also been some cases of more severe depressive symptoms, psychosis, catatonia, and even mania/hypomania. Children's reactions have generally been within what is considered normal, except for a few cases where they were too preoccupied with death themes.

Fortunately no one my wife and I know was directly affected. Emotionally, though, we are drained and stunned by both the tangible and intangible impact this event has had on our city, as well as by the immense clinical and organizational effort our organization's response has required. One feels hurt in the face of this tragedy, driven to do whatever one can as a psychiatrist.

    —Craig Katz, M.D., president of Disaster Psychiatry Outreach, a nonprofit group based in New York City that provides psychiatric assistance to people affected by disasters

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