Caregiving: Fireworks and PTSD

There are a lot of noises that can bother veterans and bring back anxiety and painful memories of their time in combat. In an article on UPI, Alex Cukan pointed out that “thunderstorms, construction blasts and fireworks” are all potential triggers for bringing back horrific memories to veterans. The noises can result in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include “intrusive recollections, distressing dreams, feeling the trauma is recurring, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability and outbursts of anger, hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response.” Part of the problem with fireworks is that they can be unexpected. When large celebrations that involve fireworks are planned, and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder are able to avoid the scene. The article even gave some suggestions if someone lives close to firework displays that could exacerbate current conditions, such as going to see a movie in a loud, air-conditioned theater. But, when fireworks are not planned, and people just decide to shoot them off in their own neighborhoods, people with PTSD are not able to make arrangements to avoid the loud, unexpected noises that could potentially trigger a bad response.

Veterans are not the only people who may suffer adverse effects from fireworks being let off without permission, permits, or notice. The article pointed out anyone who has been the victim of “a traumatic event that either involved the threat of death or great bodily injury to another or themselves – from war, mugging, cancer, car accident,” could suffer from PTSD, and their reactions could “involve fear, helplessness, or horror.” So while veterans may be the most likely or most recognized candidates for PTSD, a neighbor who lives in your neighborhood who was a victim of a violent crime involving a gun could also suffer the same as a veteran if you shoot off fireworks without thinking about it first.

Read the article at

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)