Dealing with the impacts of trauma
In general terms, the psychological impact of having a family member taken hostage is similar to that of being exposed to other trauma, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters. There are many potential reactions.
You might experience cognitive problems, such as impaired memory and concentration; confusion and disorientation; denial, perhaps that the kidnapping has happened; and hyper-vigilance and hyper-arousal which is a state of feeling too aroused, with a profound fear of the situation, what your loved one is going through, and the impact on those around you, such as children or parents.
You might have emotional reactions, such as shock and numbness; fear and anxiety; helplessness and hopelessness; dissociation, such as feeling numb and ‘switched off’ emotionally; anger which could be directed at anyone, such as the kidnappers, the authorities or yourself; anhedonia, a loss of pleasure in doing things that you previously enjoyed; depression; and guilt.
You might also experience social problems, such as feeling withdrawn; irritable; or practicing avoidance.
Most family members who go through a kidnapping make a full recovery after the kidnapping has ended. Even those who go on to suffer from PTSD can overcome these problems with the right care and treatment. Hostage International can help you to get the right support, so you will not have to go through this alone.