SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) July 4th is a celebration with your family and friends. However, the holiday could bring stress for veterans. “Veterans compare fireworks to gunshots or bombs. They are conditioned from combat to take cover,” said Alesia Davis, VA Medical Local Recovery Coordinator.
According to Davis, not all veterans are triggered by the sound of fireworks. If you live near a veteran, let them know are you planning to shoot fireworks so they can prepare. “The veterans can leave the house or go for a drive. They can put their headphones on or turn up the music,” said Davis.
Veterans being around large crowds can cause some issues. “Crowds trigger the traumatic response because of the trust factor. They feel like the world is a dangerous place,” said Davis. Davis works with veterans in advance to help them find ways to combat stress. “We can help the veterans develop cognitive processes and thinking techniques,” said Davis. For example, veterans can practice breathing and mindfulness exercises, employ a buddy system, and watch fireworks from safe distance.
Lastly for veterans struggling with PTSD on the Fourth of July, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line. The number is 1-800-273-8255.