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How Can Veterans With PTSD Prepare for Fireworks on New Year's?

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often struggle when it comes time for the holidays. Many holidays involve the use of fireworks. The booming noise can trigger a flashback for anyone with combat trauma. Additionally, fireworks can cause meltdowns for veterans with PTSD and co-occurring sensory issues. In this blog, we’ll discuss tools that veterans can use ahead of time to help them cope.

Four Tools for Veterans With PTSD

When a person is dealing with PTSD-related anxiety caused by fireworks, they can use four major tools to help them emotionally regulate and push through the situation. Similarly, they can make their situation known to trusted neighbors who may partake in at-home fireworks. The neighbors may be willing to set off the fireworks in a different location, or they may attend a professional fireworks show instead of doing it near the veteran’s home.

#1 Noise Canceling Earphones or Ear Plugs

The first, and possibly the most significant, tool that a veteran can use to combat fireworks are noise-canceling earphones or earplugs. This technology lessens the severity of the trauma trigger. Moreover, many noise-canceling earphones include passive noise suppression in addition to active noise cancelation. As a result, they’re more effective. Plus, the compression in or on the ear may bring comfort to an individual.

#2 Fidget Tools

For people with PTSD, fidget tools can be used to distract from or calm down intense emotional reactions. Examples include the following:

  • Fidget cube
  • Pop-its
  • Infinity cubes
  • Thinking putty
  • Stretchy strings

A veteran prepping for fireworks may want to obtain some fidgets that feel calming to them. They can strategically place the fidgets so that they’re nearby all evening and all night long.

#3 Weighted Blanket

When it comes to sensory issues and anxiety from PTSD, weighted blankets can help. A weighted blanket is a coping tool that a person might need to put in place ahead of time. The individual should plan where they plan to be the majority of the time that the fireworks are going off. A weighted blanket can be placed ahead of time so that it is within arm’s reach when needed.

#4 As-Needed Medications

Many veterans with PTSD take as-needed medications for anxiety and sleep. New Year’s is an established trigger for many of these people. In this case, it’s crucial that individuals ensure they have their medications filled ahead of time. If a person goes into an episode, it’d be bad for them to discover they have no meds. Moreover, the medications should be prepared in whatever way is necessary. One to two doses may need to be placed in a pill box. A person might need them within proximity. The pill bottles might need to be color-coded for easy identification in an emergency.

In the United States, New Year’s and the 4th of July are especially difficult days for veterans with PTSD related to combat. Many people set off fireworks, and towns may put on major fireworks shows. If you’re a veteran with PTSD, you may feel anxious about these holidays. It’s important that you plan ahead, identifying the tools you can use to calm your PTSD. Should you need extra help around these times of year, you can reach out to The Guest House for PTSD treatment. Call us at (855) 483-7800.