WTC Health Program officials keep a positive outlook for first responders with PTSD
Thousands of 9/11 first responders deal with post-traumatic stress disorder 22 years later. But officials at the Long Island World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program try to keep a positive outlook.
Dr. Benjamin Luft is director of the program at Stony Brook University. He said many of the responders who’ve had PTSD since 2001, saw their symptoms level off about 10 years ago.
“They are slowly, slowly getting better," he said. "It’s not that they've come back to normal, but they’re improving. And they’ve adapted to some of the problems they have psychologically.”
In addition to stress, anxiety and avoidance, more severe cases of PTSD can lead to issues with the brain and nervous system, as well as behavioral impairments.
Luft said it was important to create a program on Long Island given the large number or Nassau and Suffolk residents who were
“About 25-30% of the people who responded to 9/11 are from Long Island, and they’re very sick. So they’re seeking out places to get high quality health care, both physical and mental.”
The program monitors 13,000 9/11 first responders in all aspects of health.