An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 17, Number 10
The world has been shaken by terrorist attacks. For most of us, our lives continue as before but with a lot of anger, anxiety, hurt, rage, and worry among other feelings. Some of us are handling it better than others but all of us have been disrupted in some ways.
Watching media reports can be addictive as we search for some signs of good news and an end to the disruption. However, often we are left disappointed and anxious as there are no clear answers as to why and what can/will happen.
Some of us have done what we can through donations, contacting family and loved ones, and gathering in supportive demonstrations.
However, underneath it all is this constant sense of anxiety about the future and the results of the terrorist attacks.
This month’s e-Letter attempts to present an understanding of the power of terror, how it affects our lives, and how we can manage it.
Dr. Kimmel’s monthly blog is about Finding Collectibles and can be found here.
We hope you find the enclosed information helpful during this very challenging time.
We also thank you for reading our e-Letters.
THE POWER OF TERROR!
Most of us are in shock due to the terrorist acts that have been conducted during the last few weeks. In order to deal with how terror affects us, it is important to understand it, its power, and why it affects us so intensely.
This is not an issue of right and wrong because terror is inhumane and completely wrong. It is an issue of understanding it and why it affects us so strongly.
The FBI defines international terrorism as: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups who are inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored).”
It further defines domestic terrorism as: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”
Terror is a very powerful force that plays on our basic, fundamental human emotions and instincts causing great fear and anger. It is completely disruptive and leads to changes that are often unwanted. Not knowing the outcomes only increases our anxiety and threatens our sense of control over our personal lives.
Understanding terror and what we can do about it may to some degree limit the emotional impact it has on us.
Societies and individuals have the capacity to resist terror through resilience, community support, effective counterterrorism measures, and by promoting tolerance and understanding.
Overcoming the fear of terror may take time, and it is a highly individualized process. What works best for one person may not work for another.
It’s important to be patient and seek professional help if needed, as addressing these fears can significantly improve your mental and emotional well-being.
We offer the following information:
THE POWER OF TERROR!
Terrorism must be outlawed by all civilized nations… not explained or rationalized, but fought and eradicated. Nothing can, nothing will justify the murder of innocent people and helpless children… Elie Wiesel
WHAT TO KNOW!
- Terror creates fear which is one of the most basic and primal human emotions
- Fear generated by terrorism can lead to radicalizing new members or inspire acts of violence either in reaction to or in agreement with the terrorists
- Terror can have an intense psychological impact on people causing feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and trauma including PTSD
- When people experience terror, it triggers a strong fear response, leading to heightened alertness and a desire to protect oneself
- Terrorism disrupts the normal functioning of society by creating chaos and insecurity with consequent feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty about safety
- Constant media reporting of terrorist acts, with sensationalized stories and graphic images, amplifies its impact and maintains constant anxiety and anger
- Daily lives can be turned upside down as civil liberties may be restricted, security measures are enhanced, and daily life is probably changed forever
- The psychological effects of terror can be numerous and include among others:
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety
- Extreme fear, panic, shock, and confusion
- Depression including persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness, and changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Loss of trust in others, institutions, and society as a whole
- Frequent intrusive thoughts
- Hyperarousal and being constantly on-guard
- Withdrawal from daily activities
- Guilt for being a survivor or onlooker
- Feelings of terror can be overcome with:
- Information about the causes and motivations behind terrorist acts
- Limited media exposure
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques to manage anxiety and stress
- Social support where fears can be discussed and isolation lessened
- Sharing of anxieties with trusted friends or family members
- Psychological support from a trained counselor
WHAT TO DO!
- Limit media exposure
- Engage in supportive social activities to reduce feelings of isolation
- Build resilience through self-care, exercise, eating healthy, adequate sleep
- Develop personal empowerment by learning self-defense techniques
- Engage in activities that boost your self-esteem and sense of mastery
- Become involved in community and social activities that alleviate fear and strengthen collective resilience
- Seek professional help if your fear of terror is significantly affecting your daily life and well-being
WE PRACTICE IN-OFFICE AND TELEHEALTH VISITS AND CAN HELP!
Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]
Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email comments to [email protected] and we will publish them next month.
The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.
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Copyright © 2023 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.