Fourth of July Fireworks and PTSD

Fourth of July Fireworks and PTSD (2)

Fourth of July Fireworks and PTSD

Brief History of the Fourth of July

In America, Fourth of July fireworks are traditionally central to the celebration of our country’s birthday. Independence Day has been a federal holiday since 1941, but the tradition of celebrating July 4th has its origins in the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the American Continental Congress declared the colonies were no longer subject to Great Britain’s laws. On July 4th, after much debate, delegates from the 13 original colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, written largely by Thomas Jefferson. July 4th became the day that Americans celebrate their sovereignty with firework displays, parades, concerts, sporting events, games, gun salutes, barbeques, family gatherings, and many other ways.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is the acronym for posttraumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition that some people develop from first-hand experience or observation of combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, a sexual attack, or other life-threatening events. It is not abnormal to be upset by memories of the traumatic incident, to be unable to sleep, or to feel nervous for a time. Most people get over the disturbing event after a few weeks or months, but some continue to be affected for an even longer period. When symptoms persist for more than a few months, are latent, or come and go over time, the possibility that PTSD may be present should be explored.

It is estimated that 7% to 20% of the 2.5 million American veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are afflicted with PTSD. That means between 175,000 and 500,000 troops from those two conflagrations are suffering with PTSD, and the number grows even larger when we include other military arenas of engagement.

Explosion of Kindness” Campaign

Flashing lights and explosions can sometimes trigger panic attacks and an emotional response to what appears to be the re-experiencing of traumatic events, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The flashback for combat veterans may be induced by gunfire or fireworks, or certain smells, sights, tactile sensations, or tastes, as reported by the Institute of Medicine.

During the Fourth of July holiday season, firework displays and gun salutes, have become part of the celebration tradition across the country. Even though several cities have restricted and discouraged the use of fireworks in residential sections of their communities, it is difficult to control everyone. And with large commercially produced firework shows that light up the July 4th evening skies, blasts and crackling can be heard, shockwaves felt, smoke smelled, and, to some, these sensory experiences are reminiscent of war zones and trauma.

To be sensitive to those who are dealing with PTSD, the “Explosion of Kindness” was founded whose aim is to increase awareness about the affects of Fourth of July fireworks in potentially traumatizing veterans and others who are suffering from PTSD. “Explosion of Kindness” asks that people give veterans the courtesy of letting them know that fireworks will be set off. The notice gives the veteran the opportunity to prepare themselves and possibly leave the firework and gun salute area during the celebration on July 4th or any other day during the week when fireworks or other sources of explosive sounds are planned for use.

Need More Information?

If you would like more information about PTSD and how we care for those who are afflicted with the illness, please do not hesitate to contact Assistance In Home Care by calling 844-490-9755 or emailing info@asistanceihc.com.

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