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The cost of terrorism psychologically and socially is both huge and long term. Long after the act has been executed the mental distress arising from the act continues while the pain of a mother who lost his son, the pain of a man who lost his wife or the pain of children who were left orphans is manifest. It is unlikely that a person can go through a traumatic event and come out unchanged. Distress responses may include insomnia and increased feelings of anxiety, anger or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Apart from psychiatric symptoms victims of terrorism exhibit decreased production and behavioral disorders which jeopardize their ability to function well later in life. Other behavioral changes may include increased alcohol intake and increased smoking. After the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Pentagon many Americans regarded their stress as a normal reaction to a desperate situation rather than a disorder needing psychiatric care.
Issues related to health related to mental health and social consequences of war and terrorism are diverse. There is shortage of mental health providers with the requisite training and experience to handle disasters. Skilled providers help to ensure effective and adequate treatment. Lack of enough skilled providers denies the victims of terrorism or war treatment on time. Inadequacy of skilled health providers such as psychiatrist is a huge problem in the developing world. For example when the U.S embassy in Kenya was bombed in 1998, the country sought help from Israel in dealing with the situation. There was total confusion at the site of the bombing until international help arrived.
Public communication and dissemination of information are crucial following a terrorism event particularly in the case of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear terrorism when instructions will be critical. It is necessary to have an informed source of information and to disseminate the information in a clear and recognizable way. This stems rumors that create fear and distress. When information is availed it helps people to sober up and to take decisions that are necessary to protect themselves.
Financing of services and planning for psychological consequences is frequently inadequate during the aftermath of a terrorism act or following the cessation of war. The reaction of the financing agencies be it governments or donors is always overwhelming immediately after a war is ended or after a terrorism event but this does not last for long. When the basic physical needs are met, the financing starts dropping and finally dries out. This happens long before psychological effects are mitigated as this takes longer. The victims are left unattended. There is need therefore to extend the financing long after the war to ensure psychological needs are met. The amount of funding, duration of funding, services eligible for coverage, and inclusion of mental health services in broader terrorism preparedness plans are areas that require urgent attention.
Conducting individual, group, and population to identify specific needs in response to a terrorist event including the assessment and treatment of psychological injuries caused by terrorists. Consider intervention needs to assist communities, groups, families and individuals. Sustained exposure to potentially life-threatening experiences escalates the risk for psychological problems.