Acts of radiological terrorism represent perhaps the most effective, readily-available tool terrorist groups can use to cause panic, disrupt vital societal institutions, and inflict psychological damage on the public. The psychological effects of radiological terrorism would dwarf those created by most other potential terrorist weaponry because of radiophobia, lack of public involvement and awareness, and prevailing misconceptions. The psychological reaction to an act of radiological terrorism breaks down into three main categories: distress responses, behavioral changes, and psychiatric illnesses. One way to condition the public to the adversity of radiological terrorism is to provide more information, get it involved in preparedness programs, and to develop resilient culture. Resilient people bend rather than break during stressful conditions, and they return to their normal psychological and social functioning following misfortune.
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