Fireworks can be tough to handle for veterans with PTSD
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Across the nation, from the smallest town to the largest city, fireworks are a fun Independence Day tradition, but for some of the men and women who have served in the military, that tradition can be deeply disturbing.
For Mathew Burany, a 20-year Army veteran, the sounds of exploding fireworks take him back to the deserts of Iraq.
"I love to see the fireworks, but any loud noise would easily make me jump and somewhat crouch down," he said.
More than half of all men and women will experience a trauma in their lives that can results in PTSD.
"All of your senses work to help retain memory, when those get activated sometimes because of trauma it can bring back a very scary memory," said Karen Smothers from Pawnee Mental Health Services.
An many as one veteran in five have problems with post-traumatic stress.
For Richard, it's the legal fireworks leading up to July 4.
"You might make it through the first time, but if you hear it the second time, I hit the ground, I don't know what's going on," he said. "The closer they are it's a big trigger for me and somewhat further away it's still there, not as much I mean I can tolerate it."
For most veterans, it's not about stopping fireworks, it's about making people aware of what they're dealing with.