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For some, 4th of July brings to mind the smell of burgers on the grill or the celebratory fireworks lighting up the night sky. But for some Veterans, typical Independence Day celebrations include reminders that trigger uneasiness and discomfort. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help make this 4th of July enjoyable for all — especially those who have served our country in the military.

For Veterans: Planning Ahead

  1. You can let your family and friends know if something makes you feel uncomfortable. Recognizing your triggers ahead of time can help avoid bigger problems down the road. Common symptoms experienced around July 4th may include:
  2. Check out stories from other Veterans who found treatment for light or noise irritation here.
  3. Practice a few self-help tips or relaxation exercises to relieve feelings of uneasiness.

For friends or family: Paying Attention

  1. If you are hosting a 4th of July party or picnic, you can ask ahead of time if any Veterans you invite have difficulty around the holiday. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  2. Consider safe alternatives to your typical Independence Day celebrations. For example, if a Veteran friend or family member is alarmed by the loud sound of fireworks, you can suggest that your group use sparklers instead.

For Mike, featured in the video below, and other Veterans who are sensitive to noise or bright lights, anxiety caused by loud noises and unexpected flashes of light during 4th of July celebrations can take a toll. Hear Mike describe these symptoms and effective coping skills.

During the battle of Fallujah, Mike, a Marine officer, was wounded. He was told he had PTSD, but he thought it would go away on its own. He experienced severe headaches, problems with anger, and light sensitivity. After a friend encouraged him to seek support from VA, Mike began treatment for PTSD and TBI and is on the road to recovery.

About the author: This article originally appeared on Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives.

Dr. Sonya Norman, gray sweater, left, leads a meeting at the San Diego VA Medical Center regarding a talk therapy research program for Veterans who suffer from guilt and shame from deployment traumas.VA San Diego is studying PTSD and moral wounds
This holiday, VA reflects on all Veterans have done to help keep America free.VA honors Veterans this Independence Day

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  1. Wilderness therapy Programs July 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Happy independence day

  2. wolf spiders June 30, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    congratulations to our Veterans, I really appreciate them ..

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