Bedbugs Can Spark Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Expert Says

Yesterday we wrote about the suit a thrice bedbug-bitten former Fox News employee filed against the owner and maintenance company of News Corp.’s headquarters at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. We were skeptical of Joan Clark’s claim in the New York Supreme Court lawsuit that she suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following three separate bedbug attacks in the network’s offices, but perhaps we dismissed her case too soon.

Dr. Bob Lynn, a leading addiction recovery specialist who ran the state of New Jersey’s PTSD initiative following 9/11, told us that “the case can be made that bed bugs were responsible.

PTSD… is best understood as a reaction to a traumatic event; therefore, several individuals subjected to the same event may experience it along a very wide continuum,” Dr. Lynn wrote in an e-mail.

Of course, one’s previous history combined with their current life situation may increase the possibility of developing PTSD symptoms; that is, if you are already standing close to the edge it is easier to fall off. If, in fact, she does have PTSD it is more likely that the bedbugs were the last straw that pushed her over the edge.

“Another possibility is that she was over the edge already and this event was part of her accumulative psychological gathering of symptoms that reinforced her condition. PTSD is an anxiety disorder and those who have poor coping mechanisms related to stress and anxiety may have a higher predisposition to [it].”

Dr. Lynn added that without examining Ms. Clark and speaking with her friends and family it is not possible to determine whether she is suffering from PTSD symptoms—he said the sypmtoms fall into three areas: intrusion, avoidance and hyper-arousal; and last more than one month.

“In any case, the symptoms should be rather intense,” the e-mail concluded.

Ms. Clark’s attorney, Alan Schnurman, told us yesterday that she had no history of mental illness prior to the attacks.

Bedbugs Can Spark Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Expert Says