National Center for PTSD experts said that post-traumatic stress symptoms vary from person to person, and that not everyone with post-traumatic stress reacts to the same triggers, or reacts in the same way.
For Americans with post-traumatic stress, “it’s not the fireworks on the Fourth, that are scheduled, and people know it’s coming” that cause the most distress, but “when your neighbors start shooting off fireworks on the third”, without any warning, said Dr Sonya Norman, the director of the PTSD consultation program at the National Center for PTSD, which is run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Common coping strategies for veterans with post-traumatic stress include using loud music to drown out the sound, “getting in the shower so all they hear is the noise of running water”, Norman said.
People dealing with post-traumatic stress can also cope with fireworks by seeking out support from people in their lives, and letting them know “that they’re anticipating that this can be a problem”, and what kind of support they might need, said Dr Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, the acting deputy director of the national center’s dissemination and training division.
That support can be simple, she said: “Engaging in things that can distract them, or being available to talk to them if it triggers things that they would like to talk about.”