How veterans cope with fireworks and PTSD

(Source: WGCL)

In many cases fireworks are set off to honor veteran but many vets who served in combat zones tell CBS46 that fireworks can trigger PTSD, making holidays like the 4th of July stressful.

James and Debra Blain met in the Army.

"I went to Iraq in 2006-2007," says Debra.

"I was also stationed in Iraq," says James.

Every Fourth of July they struggle with the sound of fireworks.

"It can take you back. It can take you back to an event," she says.

For James, "It's quick to have a flash back and you're back in the war or feel like you're back in that zone."

In rare cases, the PTSD is severe.

In July of 2015 Mike Kreft, a veteran living in Valdosta, took his own life when the sounds of the fireworks triggered a flashback.

The Blains say they can handle the sound of fireworks as long as they know it's coming.

"When I know it's a set time then I know what to expect and when to expect it, and not go into defensive mode like I'm still there," says Debra.

The Blains, like may other vets, stay in on the Fourth of July and try to distract themselves from the noise.

"Make sure we got some music on or the TV on loud enough to drown it out."

Most vets suggest checking with your neighbors who you know are veterans to let them know that you will be setting off fireworks, and to only set fire works off withing a reasonable time frame.

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