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Fireworks can be problematic for area veterans with PTSD

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Posted at 11:55 PM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-04 00:03:49-04

RICHMOND, Va -- For those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder loud noises such as the bangs and pops we hear from fireworks could bring back some unpleasant flashbacks for those that have served in our military forces during times of combat. Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, celebrating the fourth of July is an issue we should all keep in mind according to former Navy Seal John McGuire.

"It's a big holiday for our country. We love it, but everybody is dealing with something different. Maybe some people maybe they way deal is they want to be around the fireworks. And maybe other people the way they want to deal with is get a way from it," said McGuire.

McGuire served 10 years as a sniper on the Seal Team. He wants to emphasize that while the number of those who have with PTSD is small, we should be considerate to them and all those around if you happen to be lighting up fireworks.

"I think one of the ways you can do is to communicate with them. Find out what their comfort zone is and give them respect," says McGuire. More so if you see a warning sign for veterans in your neighborhood.  Fireworks could set off of triggers for a small percentage of vets so it's important to remember this:

"We need to be very careful as Americans to label veterans with combat trauma as a negative. We are fortunate to have men and women sacrifice  for our freedom. We don't know what they went through and we need to give them some respect."

People with PTSD say they don't want to be labeled or treated any differently because of their condition. Especially this weekend where we pay tribute to our independence adds McGuire, "Whether a guy has post traumatic stress disorder or not he loves his country. He loves that flag and he likes 4th of July."

Now as of 2013 a couple of university studies have estimated rates at up to 20 percent for veterans with PTSD returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.