“The 4th of July is a cause of massive celebration across the United States in honor of our independence and freedom. We buy sparklers and bottle rockets during the day and patiently wait for the sun to set to start firing them off all through the night. In most cities across the nation, it is legal to set off these fireworks in your neighborhood for only a set amount of days. These few days can be the cause of immense joy for some families and the cause of great pain for others.
Over 20 percent of our veterans who have seen combat suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms can manifest in various ways, including irritability, hostility, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, severe anxiety, guilt, loneliness, insomnia, and/or nightmares. These types of reactions from PTSD can be set off from the extremely loud fireworks next door. Veterans and many other Americans suffering from PTSD can be easily triggered by constant pops and bangs of fireworks close by. The sounds alone can cause extreme anxiety, insomnia, or even hypomania. Even the constant flashing of lights from the fireworks into the window of someone suffering from PTSD can send them into a spiral at an alarming rate.
So, what can we do? How do Americans celebrate while also keeping in mind the mental health of their neighbors? It can be as simple as going door-to-door if you plan to set off large fireworks and asking if they are comfortable with it. You could also keep the light/sound to a minimum by only using sparklers or very small rockets. Always keep in mind who could be living next door!
Over 4 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD of some kind, and all of their triggers and reactions differ greatly. If you or a loved one have been suffering, or would simply like to know more information, please reach out to your local counseling agency. Therapists are here to help us cope and grow through our trauma, all it takes is a call.”