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How to deal with PTSD around the 4th of July

Fireworks and other loud noises can trigger flashbacks and nightmares of a traumatic time.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many are looking forward to firework displays across the Mid-South this 4th of July weekend, but it can also be triggering for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.  

John Redmond, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with Vertava Health, said PTSD can be triggered by several things, such as sounds, smells, and even large crowds. 

"The best thing to do is try to limit your exposure," Redmond said. "If a person knows they’re triggered by those kinds of events then they need to try to avoid them." 

Justin Johnson, a veteran with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, said PTSD is especially common among veterans, even if most know the difference between the sound of a gunshot and a firework.

"Both are very startling and can also trigger a certain wartime experience," Johnson said. 

For those struggling over the 4th of July weekend, Johnson recommends calling a friend if you are feeling triggered or texting "TN" to 741-741 for the Crisis Hotline. 

You can also call the Veteran Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. 

"It’s important they should know there are resources for them, to know that somebody cares and they’re willing to listen," Johnson said. "There’s another option besides that final option."

Redmond advised also checking on neighbors you know who are dealing with PTSD around this time of year. 

"PTSD is so prevalent in our society much more than we realize," Redmond said. "We should always be cognizant of those around us and their feelings and if we can avoid hurting them."

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