Veterans, Fireworks And PTSD May Not Be A Good Mix
The boom, crackle, and sizzle of fireworks is something many people look forward to on the Fourth of July. But for some, the explosions are something to dread. But for people recovering from trauma or working through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fireworks may the worst thing about holiday celebrations.
“It’s upsetting to most Veterans with PTSD. It’s something they try to avoid,” Dr. Jeffrey Fine, Director of the PTSD program at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS), told the VA. Dr. Fine said the reaction “can range from a startle to a full-blown anxiety attack and flashback of combat.”
It can be a difficult and embarrassing time for some veterans. Experts say that family and friends can help. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michael Kramer, a PTSD specialist at VANYHHS says that by anticipating a possible reaction and preparing for it people can have a better time dealing with the noise. For example, planning on where they will stand when they go out, making a point to stay close to exits, and come up with a backup plan if a person has a bad reaction.
The Cheyenne VA reminds all of us to think about our friends, family, and neighbors who may have served in a combat zone during the fireworks season.
If you are setting off fireworks, a simple knock on the door to ask your neighbors if they'll be alright is sometimes all it takes to help.
Because the fireworks simulate explosives, it may surprise some Veterans living near you. Again, a simple courtesy, letting them know that you plan to light off fireworks may be all it takes.
In some cases, Veterans, fireworks, and PTSD may not be a good mix, so be mindful of those who have served and be a good neighbor.
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