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Phases of Traumatic Stress Reactions in a Disaster

National Center on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 2006

The thousands of Americans who directly experienced the terror attacks on New York and Washington, and the millions who saw the resulting death and destruction on television, may encounter behavioral and emotional re-adjustment problems. Many post-traumatic stress symptoms are normal responses to an overwhelming stressor which may change our assumptions and create distress, but will reside in intensity with time. Experts agree that the amount of time it takes people to recover, depends both on what happened to them and on what meaning they gave to those events.

Updated March 11, 2003.