Dublin VA: Celebratory fireworks may trigger vets’ PTSD
DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – As you get ready to celebrate for the 4th of July, medical staff at the Carl Vinson VA Medical wants residents to think about veterans.
Some vets say igniting fireworks their PTSD.
Gus Allbritton is a Vietnam Army vet and says he dreads the fireworks during the July 4th weekend.
“Usually, if a loud explosion like that catches me off guard, I’ll hit the ground and I’ll think I’m back in combat,” he said. “Fireworks and PTSD are like gasoline on fire, they don’t mix.”
Allbritton is one of thousands coming to the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The sudden noises put him and others on edge.
“Shaking, nervousness, can’t sleep, I’m just quivering and shaking all over and it goes on for days sometimes weeks,” Allbritton said.
Medical staff at the VA is asking for celebrators to be mindful of the vets in their community when using fireworks.
“Those folks in your community who may have PTSD are just going to be more sensitive to loud explosions, more sensitive to maybe the bright lights. So be sensitive,” Matthew Geyer, Mental Health Director at the Dublin VA, said.
A necessity, but if it doesn’t happen, there’s another way.
“The good news is about PTSD it is very treatable. There is new evidence based approaches, evidence based psychotherapies, that we have available here at this facility that reduce the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder,” Geyer said.
Allbritton says the VA helps, but he’s still celebrating away from the action.
“…home. I might grill out. I don’t know. If there’s no fireworks going on around me, I might cook a hamburger or a steak or something like that. I’ll probably be in the house with a pillow over my head with the stereo on,” Allbritton said.
Staff at the VA says they treat more than 10,000 mental patients in 52 counties.
If you’re a vet, and you feel as though you’re suffering from PTSD, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1 (800) 273-8255.