Three Americans released from North Korean captivity Wednesday are at risk of a range of symptoms, from crippling anxiety to severe depression, as a result of the trauma experienced during their imprisonment.

Half a dozen experts said the men could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, with many of them reacting to their sudden freedom much like soldiers returning from a war zone.

"Losing your freedom is a huge thing," said Anne Speckhard, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University who has studied PTSD for decades. "I think we really underestimate how horrible it is for human beings (in captivity)."