For some veterans, July 4th fireworks can echo war trauma

  • Article by: Ashley Griffin , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2013 - 11:25 PM

The sounds of holiday celebrations can trigger PTSD symptoms in some veterans.

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DannyHaszardJul. 3, 1310:45 PM

Bravo our Veterans! Current drug pharmaceutical PTSD treatment for Veterans found ineffective. Eli Lilly made $70 billion on the Zyprexa franchise.Lilly was fined $1.4 billion for Zyprexa fraud! The atypical antipsychotics (Zyprexa,Risperdal,Seroquel) are like a 'synthetic' Thorazine,only they cost ten times more than the old fashioned typical antipsychotics. These newer generation drugs still pack their list of side effects like diabetes for the user.All these drugs work as so called 'major tranquilizers'.This can be a contradiction with PTSD suffers as we are hyper vigilant and feel uncomfortable with a drug that puts you to sleep and makes you sluggish. That's why drugs like Zyprexa don't work for PTSD survivors like myself.

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byorkerJul. 3, 1310:57 PM

As a Gulf Veteran this story hinges on the absurd. The 4th of July is a patriotic celebration and most of my fellow veteran's feel the same. I salute the military service of this individual but feel there are some other underlying issues here. In my opinion this is a nonstory screaming for attention.

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Truckman182Jul. 3, 1311:15 PM

12 million WWII vets and not a peep out of them over the last 70 years about fireworks bringing back bad memories of war.

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countrygentJul. 4, 13 8:43 AM

Korea, really, really? What year was this?

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rexmanJul. 4, 13 9:02 AM

I agree that the PTSD issue has been overplayed in this article. However, I did find it interesting that some other vets share my dislike of July 4th fireworks (although this became less of a problem for me as I got older).

After I returned from Vietnam, I learned to avoid neighborhood 4th of July celebrations where fireworks were involved. The problem for me was the unexpected explosion of a cherry bomb or a string of firecrackers (especially behind me). This caused a sudden panicked and (sometimes embarrassing!) "hit the deck" response.

I believe that (at least in my case) this response is embedded in the subconscious and therefore never completely goes away.

During my first few days in Vietnam, I was unable to sleep due to an inability to distinguish between incoming and outgoing fire. After the first few days, I was able to sleep soundly as long as the fire was outgoing.

The instant that an incoming round hit, I was alert and awake, no matter the time of night. As I mentioned, I believe that this is a subconscious survival mechanism, which never fully disappears.

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dentesterJul. 4, 13 9:59 AM

Sorry if this offends you, and I hate to have to say this, but as a veteran I can tell you that too many emotional cripples are being allowed to join the military. South Korea? Really? I was almost killed three times and I've never suffered from any after-effects that seemingly affect too many veterans. We need to employ much more thorough and rigorous psychological testing than we've apparently been using since I was discharged.

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byorkerJul. 4, 1310:26 AM

Re: Countrygent - I also agree with you and understand the point. Was this servicewoman in the Korean War? We haven't been in a War in a longtime in Korea. If she served during a nonwar time frame - I don't understand??? I served in both the Gulf War and Korea. I viewed Korea as a great culture experience and time to serve my country. The biggest explosions heard in Korea were the 4th of July fireworks put on in Seoul. Sure a few training exercises existed with some typical booms but she has PSTD from a nonwar time frame?

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williepep2Jul. 4, 1310:30 AM

First, I want to THANK all our veterans for their service and sacrifice. I salute you! I agree with most of the posters here, this is a pretty sad excuse for a July 4th article. Do we really need to talk about PTSD today? Maybe on the 4th, Veteran's Day and Memorial day we could get a more positive article about our vets; talk about PTSD on the other 362 days of the year.

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reader15Jul. 6, 13 8:39 AM

South Korea? That doesn't even make sense.

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msystarJul. 9, 13 2:20 AM

I will admit; when I first read this article I was angry, because I had actually called and gave an interview for this article about my Fiance. I was excited and nervous to be the voice for all the people and families that never get the chance. He is a Marine, 0311/Infantry. He has was deployed to Afghanistan and was operating in Helmand Province. His PTSD now is so extreme that it has and affected the way I live. He is currently in an inpatient program at a place called the PATHWAY HOME in Napa Valley, CA to assist him with everything that our Vets have to deal with. It's a non profit organization and should get more attention that it's getting. The Pathway Home has saved his life. I give all my thanks to this place. He wouldn't me alive without being there. So instead of being angry; If anyone needs assistance I have done a lot of reaching out and research for some other non VA related organizations and I would love to assist anyone else dealing with the aftermath of war, even if it's to talk. It's not easy at all, but there is always hope. No offense @willepep2, there should never be a day where people should NEED to take a break from the pain that they are feeling. In my opinion, that is not even a fair statement. So instead of being negative, let's be supportive and bring our Vets up. No One can judge anyone unless they have walked in their shoes. God bless America and ALL of the warriors that dedicate their lives for our freedom. Period.

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