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4th of July and PTSD.

What we can to for veterans and those who have experiance trauma.

By Melissa Shrader Editor/Publisher Fort Collins Macaroni Kid June 30, 2021

Everyone loves the 4th of July. But not everyone loves fireworks.

Those who have been through traumatic experiences like Veterans who have PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) are not fans of fireworks. Not all Veterans are affected the same and not all who have PTSD are Veterans. 

PTSD affects millions of Americans and occurs not only for those who have been in combat but from many different traumas. Interpersonal abuse, child abuse, and traumatic or life-threatening accidents for example can lead to PTSD.

What Triggers PTSD?

For many, loud noises can trigger memories and reactions that are felt deeply. The veterans I’ve heard from have varying degrees of stress from fireworks, but all agree that it’s mainly the fireworks that go off all night on the 4th or all week before the holiday and after the holiday that are the most bothersome. They prepare for the holiday and do what they need to but the unexpected and repeated explosions over days are the most devastating. 

Fireworks are not the only triggers that affect PTSD. Sights, sounds, smells, comments, feelings, and someone coming up from behind quietly and unexpectedly can bring back memories and feelings from a previous experience.

How can we help reduce stress for PTSD and other mental health conditions? 

The best thing we can to is to enjoy our fireworks during expected days/times. Not midnight or 3 am not on a random day in an unexpected month and day like a Tuesday in November for example. 

What to do if you or someone you know needs help? 

If you or someone you know needs assistance these resources are available to help. 

The national PTSD center (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) for veterans is an amazing resource. 

PTSD Coach is a free app filled with educational materials, screeners and tools. 

Wounded Warrior Regiment is available for veterans. 

DSTRESS Line is a call line for immediate assistance. 

Military & Family Life Counselors are available for families. 

Larimer County Veteran services have help available too. 

Larimer County PTSD Assistance for everyone