Utoya survivors suffer terror attack flashbacks

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A mural to Victoria Stenberg, one of Breivik's victims, in Årnes. Photo: Aleksander Andersen
15:26 CEST+02:00
Four of ten teenagers who survived the terror attack two years ago suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as physical ailments, following the killing spree of Anders Behring Breivik, according to new figures from the National Traumatic Stress Centre.

"It doesn't take much for me to become depressed. Now that the date July 22nd (the anniversary of the attacks) is approaching, I've started to feel bad physically in addition to the psychological pain," Utoya island survivor Lisa Marie Husby told the NRK network on Tuesday.

She said some days she felt absolutely fine, but other days she suffered anxiety and flashbacks from her escape from the terror attack that shocked Norway and the world.

"It can be incredibly scare. I can have a flashback that lasts several minutes," Husby added. 

About 300 teenagers who survived the attack against the Labour Party youth wing's traditional summer camp on Utoya island have been monitored by the Traumatic Stress Centre. Last year, seven of ten said they suffered psychologically from the attack. While that proportion had shrunk to four out of ten two years on, one in ten said they were doing less well today than a year after the incident.

Centre spokeswoman Grete Dyb said psychological trauma could impair the teenagers' work at school, and from there negatively impact their future working lives. But, she added, most patients would find their way out of PTSD eventually. 

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"It's expected to take between two and five years to get back to the state which you were in before the event," Dyb told NRK. 

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