BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- With the Fourth of July approaching, some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, may be triggered by fireworks.

About 30% of combat veterans in the country have PTSD, according to Director of the Binghamton Vet Center and US Army Veteran Cornell Morris. He said fireworks are a trigger because of their unpredictability.

Morris said the external stimuli of hearing fireworks and seeing the bright lights trigger the response of being in combat. He noted that those in combat experience “fight or flight” syndrome; with symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, increased heart rate, heavy breathing and a heightened sense of awareness.

According to the Broome County Veteran Service Agency, there are more than 56,000 veterans throughout the Southern Tier, where Binghamton Vet Center Office Manager & Program Support Assistant Paul White said most people don’t even know how many veterans might be living in their neighborhood.

Morris said veterans may not experience these triggers if they are able to prepare ahead of time. Morris suggested people should let their veteran neighbors know if they plan on setting off fireworks.

“If you want to set off fireworks, there’s nobody that wants to stop you from doing that,” said White. “Just be aware of your surroundings.”

Morris advised veterans to take Fourth of July festivities in small doses, prioritize staying grounded and participate in mindfulness practices for relaxation.

For more information about veterans with PTSD, as well as counseling services, go here.

Source link