How fireworks can affect Veterans with PTSD

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fireworks aren’t fun, for everyone. They can be frightening to pets and small children and we often forget how they can affect Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Sights and sounds, we associate with fireworks, can trigger some Veterans’ memories of war.

Some become alarmed to the point of panic, irritability, or even outbursts of anger. Sadly, it’s a reality for thousands of people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Lexington’s V.A. has tips to make your loved one feel comfortable this holiday.

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“The 4th of July can make a Veteran very nervous and they may shrink from doing any activities family members think is fun and so they can feel like they just want to go away or they can feel like I don’t want to rain on peoples parades. So they take constant breaks and people keep going “What is wrong with you? Why aren’t you enjoying this?” Okay, so what we really want to do is just ask them. One of the nicest thing you can do is ask your Veteran how would you like for us to celebrate the 4th of July? Would you like for it to be a quiet day, or we just go fishing on the lake or would you like to go away somewhere where you don’t hear all the fireworks?” said psychologist Cynthia Dunn.

The V.A.’s goal is to bring a greater public awareness of post traumatic stress disorder and to help reduce the stigma of it. If you, yourself, or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, you can contact the Lexington V.A. at www.va.com or dial 859-233-4511. For the V.A. Crisis Hotline call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.