Celebratory fireworks can bring back bad memories for veterans

Published: Jul. 3, 2023 at 12:08 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - As fireworks light up the sky on the Fourth of July, those bright explosions can trigger panic attacks and other issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

“When it comes to our veterans when they hear loud bangs. I mean it’s just like explosions that they saw possibly in a war,” said John Jones, the medical director at the Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky.

For veterans and those who have experienced trauma those celebratory fireworks can bring back bad memories.

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“Those things can trigger those events that happened that were particularly traumatic, and it can lead to them taking irrational actions. They can be flashbacked to that time period. So, they could become upset or even violent themselves based on that,” said Jones.

He added that there are things you can do to help ease the noise on nights like the Fourth of July.

“You know a veteran is going to know what their triggers are. Unfortunately, it is harder to pin down when someone is going to let off one of those triggers. Really you can have sound protective equipment,” he said.

Also, if you see your loved one may be struggling with the loud explosive noises it is a good idea to have a plan to help.

“I think a lot of it just comes down to the family members need to be supportive, and be proactive and try to avoid those triggers,” he said.

He added avoiding alcohol could also prevent a tough situation from getting worse.