PTSD, depression, anxiety doubled in Israel post-Hamas attack: Study

Tel Aviv, Jan 7 (IANS): Researchers have documented sharp increases in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety among Israelis (both Jews and Arabs) in the aftermath of the Hamas attack in October last year.

The study, conducted by researchers at Ruppin Academic Center in Israel and Columbia University, found the prevalence of probable PTSD, depression, and anxiety in the weeks following the attacks (29 per cent for PTSD, 42-44 per cent for depression and GAD (generalised anxiety disorder), respectively), almost doubling the prevalence recorded two months before the attack.

“The prevalences of PTSD, depression, and anxiety are considerably higher than those reported in previous studies focusing on terrorist events, such as the 9/11 attacks and other attacks,” said Yossi Levi-Belz, a professor at the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel who led the study published in the Lancet’s journal EClinicalMedicine.

For the study, the researchers employed a wide range of probable outcome measures including PTSD, depression, and GAD, assessing a cohort of Israeli citizens, both Jews and Arabs, twice, 6-7 weeks before the attack and 5-6 weeks after the attacks.

The findings “underline the crucial importance of conducting an immediate assessment of those exposed to severe trauma that taking into account pre-attack psychological difficulties and psychiatric 'diagnosis' in the aftermath of such a large-scale trauma,” the authors noted.

“Moreover, nation leaders and policymakers should consider taking steps to allocate all resources to facilitate evidence-based treatments of affected civilians,” said Yuval Neria, a professor of clinical medical psychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre.

Since the beginning of the conflict, 240,000 Israeli civilians have evacuated their homes and 129 Israelis are still held hostage.

The ground war in Gaza has also taken a heavy toll on Palestinians. The health ministry in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip said that more than 20,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since the beginning of the war.



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Title: PTSD, depression, anxiety doubled in Israel post-Hamas attack: Study

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