Victims of terrorism are subject to severe stress and disruption and may manifest a pattern of dissociative and anxiety/depression symptoms. The trauma may impair the person's quality of life and disrupt social and other functioning. If symptoms last beyond a month following the traumatic event, PTSD may ensue. These adverse effects do not always disappear with time. Crisis intervention is focused on ensuring safety and providing support, including assessment of coping resources and support networks. The role of early psychological debriefing to prevent psychopathology following a traumatic event is to detect individuals who require more complex intervention. The issues addressed in therapy include the need to correct unrealistic expectations, to deal with guilt and phobic reactions as well as family and network reorganization. Cognitive-behavioral treatments, such as exposure techniques or cognitive restructuring approaches, have been shown to work. At times, work with the family members may be necessary too. Considerable attention has been given to the development and delivery of support and treatment interventions but this has not been matched by a corresponding effort on evaluation. Many terrorists attacks cannot be prevented but the magnitude of their psychosocial impact can be reduced by better community preparedness and response.
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