Fireworks and PTSD

Many of us are unaware of the harmful effects fireworks can have on our veterans. Fireworks bring back memories of combat and can trigger flashbacks for soldiers. Although the banning of fireworks will probably never happen, there are other ways we can show our compassion for those that have defended our nation.

An excerpt from the article, New Year's Eve Fireworks and Veterans with PTSD, offers some suggestions:
PTSD is a debilitating condition that some individuals develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Given the nature of war, it is not surprising that combat veterans are among those routinely diagnosed with the disorder. According to the Veterans Administration's PTSD Information Center, symptoms of PTSD include depression, anxiety, rage, suicidal tendencies, social isolation, sleeplessness, emotional numbness, and alcohol and drug abuse. The National Institute of Mental Health states that PTSD sufferers have flashbacks to the traumatic event, which can be brought on by environmental factors. Thus, even when PTSD is diagnosed and treated, the sound of fireworks can trigger flashbacks to the experience of gunfire or the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED). In turn, the memories can bring on the PTSD symptoms.

What You Can Do
Substitute. Take your family to enjoy public fireworks displays instead of setting off cherry bombs and other incendiaries at your home.

Inquire. If you know a veteran living in your neighborhood, inquire in advance of the holiday whether particular types of fireworks will cause him or her undue stress.

Inform. Inform all your neighbors that you will be setting off particular types of fireworks at a specific time.

Curtail. Voluntarily restrict your use of fireworks to one hour beginning at midnight; do not set off fireworks at unexpected times throughout the day.

Limit. Don't go overboard in the quantity of fireworks purchased and used. Choose a selection of fireworks that you think your family will enjoy and set those off within a relatively short period.

Distance: Choose a location, such as a fenced-in back yard, for setting off the fireworks that is least likely to disturb vets and other neighbors who may be bothered by the noise.

Priorities. Given the debt our society owes to military members who serve in dangerous war zones on our behalf, consider whether the fleeting pleasure of a few blasts of explosives is worth the potential hardship to nearby veterans with PTSD.

To read the full article go to:

Post: Jessica Hadduck