Planning 4th of July fireworks? Be courteous to veterans

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Planning 4th of July fireworks? Be courteous to veterans

While July 4th is a celebration for many of us, it's a cause for anxiety for those who fought for our freedom.

According to researchers, 300,000 of the nearly 2 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. When triggered, PTSD can cause flashbacks, agitation, and insomnia. And for Vietnam veteran Douglas Underwood, the sound of fireworks resemble those from one of our nation's deadliest wars.

"I just don't do them," said Underwood. "It's bad enough I have to hear gunshots every day."

Underwood, like the thousands of veterans across the country, suffers from PTSD. It's a condition healthcare experts say can be triggered every time we spark up fireworks.

"Those sounds are just familiar and when someone has experienced loud noises, bangs, flashes, and smells in a war environment, that's where that PTSD comes in," said Jill E. Palmer, Cohen Veterans Healthcare Clinic.

Cohen Veterans Healthcare Clinic specializes in veteran mental care. Clinicians tell ABC11 that PTSD comes with a variety of symptoms.

"Not sleeping well, what we call hyper vigilance, checking the locks, looking for windows and doors to be closed, always checking over your shoulder," said Palmer.

Those reactions are why experts say you should think twice and check with your neighbors before lighting a fuse this holiday weekend.

"That's one of the biggest issues, the unexpected bangs and flashes. The unexpected is a problem," said Palmer.

Fayetteville Police is also issuing a courtesy plea for those planning to celebrate with fireworks. FPD has a crisis control unit designed to work with those with firework anxiety.
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societyPTSD4th of julyfireworksFayetteville
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