Some service members or veterans won’t share the same excitement others feel when fireworks light up the sky. Large crowds, loud noises and the smell of smoke can aggravate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“There is no shame in declining to attend fireworks displays,” said Cmdr. Angela Williams, acting director of psychological health clinical care at the Deployment Health Clinical Center.
PTSD triggers and reactions aren’t always predictable. It’s important to prepare yourself and know the tools available to help you cope.
The Real Warriors website provides tips to help you manage stress during public events.
Finding events that are both fun and private can make celebrating more enjoyable for you and your family. Calmer, quieter ways to celebrate might mean creating new traditions. Family members might enjoy an escape from the bustle and noise, or a chance to travel during the holiday.
A quick way to get help at any time, even during the fireworks, is to contact the DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020. You can also email or live chat. Health resource consultants are available 24/7.
Looking for more information? Below are some articles you may like to read:
- 4th of July, PTSD, Wedding, Helping Out: Vet’s Full Agenda
- Signs of Respect: Support Veterans with PTSD this Fourth of July
- You Can Manage Holiday Stress, These Apps will Help
- Independence...From Being Upset
- Strategies for Coping with Flashbacks
- Veterans Crisis Line: Confidential Help for Veterans and Their Families
- Interesting Fourth of July Facts
Editorial note: This article is an update of a story originally posted July 1, 2015.