Coping with PTSD during 4th of July

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – 4th of July is an exciting time for millions of Americans celebrating the birth of our nation. Still, for some people, fireworks can cause stress, especially for veterans who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“It takes them back to that difficult time in their life when they were under a lot of stress, in combat with bullets flying and the loud noises and they were always frightful, always on guard, hyper-vigilant,” said Life Strategies Clinical Director William Catus.

With West Virginia having one of the highest veterans population in the United States, Beckley Psychiatrist Jawad Zafar says it essential to understand what signs to look for.

“To the people around them it may not seem real, but to the person that is suffering it is very real, and their body is responding in a such matter with elevation in their heart rate, they will start to sweat as well they will start to desensitize,” said Zafar.

Before you set off your display this year, Dr. Catus is reminding us to keep those who have PTSD in mind.

“Neighbors should have a conversation with veterans if they plan on setting off fireworks. But one way that they protect themselves, maybe even if they know it’s going to be a problem they may want to get away or go visit some other relatives somewhere the celebration is not going on,” said Catus.

For more information on how to cope with PTSD, you can visit mayoclinic.org.