Fireworks can Trigger “Fight or Flight” Response in Veterans - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Fireworks can Trigger “Fight or Flight” Response in Veterans

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Many of us are looking forward to the big fireworks shows on the Fourth of July to celebrate our independence - but ironically, for some veterans who have fought for our freedom those sounds can bring back terrible memories.

The sounds of fireworks can be a trigger for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A therapist with Community Outreach for Vietnam Returnees (COVER) in Charlottesville says fireworks can sound like an attack or a fire fight. Fireworks can easily trigger the behaviors learned in combat, and a psychological response like "fight or flight" can last up to a few days.

Jason Corral, a veteran with the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, says although each person has different triggers it's still important to be mindful of where you set off fireworks.

"Maybe it's their first Fourth of July back in the states. If that trigger hits them and they're going from smiling and celebrating and happy to kind of a black stare understand that maybe there's some things they are processing,” said Corral.

Corral also says the best advice to give to friends and family member is to just listen to the veteran.

COVER has some additional tips about fireworks and PTSD. To access the tip sheet, click here.

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