Freed hostage faces task of recovering normality

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The Independent Online

As Peter Moore's hellish hostage ordeal finally draws to a close he now has the difficult task of picking up the threads of his old life.

Former hostages typically face post traumatic stress and depression as they try to come to terms with the physical and mental repercussions of their imprisonment.

They must also readjust to how they and their families have changed during their incarceration.

Mr Moore will be given a thorough physical examination and a political debriefing by the authorities on his release.

He will also be offered physical and mental help and the chance to tell his story to the waiting press.

But he will then face the prospect of a long and challenging battle to make a full recovery.

Former Middle East hostage Terry Waite said Mr Moore should "take things step by step" but insisted there was every chance he could recover fully.

Former church envoy Mr Waite went to Beirut in January 1987 to negotiate the release of several hostages being held there.

But he ended up a hostage himself and was held captive until November 1991.

He said: "Peter will feel a huge sense of confusion in the immediate aftermath of his release.

"I have no strong memories myself after being set free. It was for me a time of great confusion.

"You spend those first few days almost behaving like an automaton.

"What he must do is take things step by step. He will be offered physical and mental help and the chance to tell his story.

"He doesn't have to accept these things but telling of his experience is a way of helping to make sure nothing is stored up mentally."

Mr Waite said making a full recovery depended on a person's mental make-up.

He explained: "You discover you have resources to help you cope that you didn't know about.

"He needs to take things one step at a time and if he takes the advice he is offered the chances are that he will be fine."

Mr Waite said the impact on the hostage's family also has an impact upon the recovery process.

He added: "People forget that the families go through an equally difficult time.

"Their emotions are typically up one day dependent on news and then dashed the next.

"You have to understand that you have changed and that your family has also changed in your absence."