Doc Warns of 9/11 Overload on Anniversary

Children should not be allowed to view too many images from 9/11, doctor warns

Images and video of the 9/11 attacks will be played over and over in the next few days as the 10th anniversary approaches.

But a South Florida doctor who was in New York at the time of the attack warned reliving the event might not be such a good thing for people, especially children, some of whom weren't even born when the Twin Towers fell.

"The feelings that are going to be stirred up this 9/11 are going to be so much stronger," said Dr. Spencer Eth, who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder at the Miami Veteran's Administration Hospital. "I think people should anticipate that and understand that if they are sad that day, irritable that day, that’s a natural reaction."

Eth said the phenomenon is known as anniversary reaction and even he has to watch out for it.

Eth was at a mental hospital right across from the Twin Towers when the attacks took place. He walked outside moments after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center buildings and saw the flames and chaos.

He ended up treating thousands who were coming in for help that day.

But even people who weren't in New York will be feeling intense emotions heading into Sunday's anniversary.

Hollywood resident Laura Kallus is the sister of a then United Airlines flight attendant. When she heard the news of the attack, she immediately tried to locate her sister, Dana, who was often assigned to flights to New York and Boston.

Luckily, Kallus was able to reach her sister on the phone.

Now Kallus' attention is on her son, 6-year-old Skye, and his first exposure to 9/11 via television and radio this week.

"I didn't think about telling him anything. He asked me about it when it was on TV," Kallus said. "He was very interested in why someone would kill themselves."

Eth said curious children like Skye should be shielded to a certain degree from the coverage expected this weekend and the repeated viewing of the disturbing images. Parents should try to put the events in context and express that 9/11 happened many years ago, he said.

Parents should also monitor their own viewing, Eth said.

"Those of us who live in South Florida are a mix of people such as myself who was in New York on 9/11, who saw what happened," he said. "Those feelings are going to come alive again."

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