• 18 Jun, 2024

A study by researchers at Israel's Ruppin Academic Center and Columbia University found a widespread impact on the mental health of Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, with sharp increases in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. After the October Hamas attack.

The study was published in January in Lancet's EClinicalMedicine. September 5, 2023 Prevalence rates of probable PTSD, depression, and anxiety were found in the weeks following the attack (29% for PTSD and 42%–44% for depression and GAD, respectively). This is almost double the prevalence found over two months. before. The attack was recorded.

"The prevalence of PTSD, depression, and anxiety is much higher than in previous studies that have focused on terrorist events such as 9/11 and other attacks," says Yossi Levy-Beltz, clinical professor of psychology. He is the chairman of the Lior Tsfaty Center for Suicide and Mental Illness Research at the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel, which led the study.

The long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians began on October 7, when Hamas attacked civilians in southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 and taking 240 hostages, Israeli officials said.

After more than a decade of relative peace on the Gaza-Israel border following terrorist attacks, an all-out war has broken out between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military.

According to the researchers, the national cohort study addressed the limitations of previous studies by using a prospective study design to assess the impact of the attack. The researchers used a wide range of potential outcome measures, including PTSD, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), in Israeli citizens, including Jews and Arabs, who were assessed twice: 6 to 7 weeks before and 5 to 6 weeks before the attacks.. later. attack.

Since the start of the civil war, 240,000 Israeli civilians have become refugees, and 129 Israelis remain hostages. The ground fighting in Gaza has also had a major impact on the Palestinians. Gaza's Health Ministry, run by Hamas, said more than 20,000 people had been killed in the Palestinian territories since the start of the war. Numerous studies have shown that traumatic events such as war or armed conflict can lead to alarming increases in post-traumatic stress and depression.

PTSD symptoms were the most common health impact of the 9/11 attacks. 20% of adults who are directly injured in an accident or assault develop PTSD symptoms five to six years after the assault. Ten years after the attacks, 15% of the 70,000 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry reported depression, and 10% reported both depression and PTSD.

The study was co-authored by Yuval Neria, Ph.D., professor of clinical medical psychology (psychiatry and epidemiology) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and director of the PTSD Research and Treatment Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI ). ).

The findings highlight the importance of prompt assessment of people who have suffered severe trauma, taking into account psychological distress before the attack and psychiatric 'diagnosis' following such severe trauma.

"In addition, state leaders and policymakers should consider taking steps to allocate all resources to promote evidence-based treatment for affected citizens," Dr. Neria added. "Ordinary citizens must be able to engage in early and medium-term intervention after an attack, promoting personal and community effectiveness, connectivity, and hope during large-scale military conflicts with Israelis and the Arab people."