Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 301-306

First online:

Psychiatric Medication Use Among Manhattan Residents Following the World Trade Center Disaster

  • Joseph A. BoscarinoAffiliated withDivision of Health and Science Policy, New York Academy of MedicineDepartment of Veterans Affairs, New Jersey Health Care System, Research Service Email author 
  • , Sandro GaleaAffiliated withNew York Academy of Medicine, Center for Urban Epidemiologic StudiesDepartment of Epidemiology, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
  • , Jennifer AhernAffiliated withNew York Academy of Medicine, Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies
  • , Heidi ResnickAffiliated withNational Crime Victims' Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina
  • , David VlahovAffiliated withNew York Academy of Medicine, Center for Urban Epidemiologic StudiesBloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

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To assess medication use in New York after the September 11th attacks, a telephone survey was conducted in October 2001 (N = 1,008). The prevalence of psychiatric medication use 30 days before the disaster was 8.9 and 11.6% 30 days after, a small but significant increase. The most important factor predicting postdisaster use was predisaster use—92% of those who used medications postdisaster used them predisaster. In addition, 3.3% used psychiatric medications 30 days postdisaster, but not 30 days before. Those who had panic attacks, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insurance coverage, were the most likely medicated (26.5%). However, among those who used postdisaster medications (n = 129), new users tended to be those with panic attacks (44.1%) and those with panic attacks and PTSD (69.2%).

pharmaceuticals posttraumatic stress disorder disasters panic attack service utilization