Remember remember… those with PTSD
We’ve mentioned before that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can often develop difficulties with sounds such as an exaggerated startle response, fear of sound (phonophobia), aversion to specific sounds (misophonia), and a difficulty in tolerance and volume of sounds that would not be considered loud by normal hearing individuals (hyperacusis). These issues with sound are are why many PTSD sufferers find this time of year a real problem. The root cause: fireworks.
It’s not a fear of the fireworks, but a large component of the startle response is ‘the unexpected’ and although hypervigilance may cause a PTSD sufferer to be ‘on alert’ at all times, the sudden, sharp sounds of fireworks can be incredibly problematic to them. Combat Stress, a veterans’ mental health charity, reported a 9% rise in calls to their 24-hour helpline in November 2013, compared with the rest of the year.
An assault survivor may be startled and frightened by the sudden bang of fireworks, the explosive sounds, flashes of light and smell of gun powder may trigger unwelcome memories for some veterans, or a person with PTSD from a natural disaster may mistakenly interpret the fireworks as the sound of another natural disaster.
If you struggle with the noise from fireworks, you may want to have some techniques for relaxation ready just incase. It may be that you don’t have an immediate affect from fireworks, but they may increase or bring about nightmares.
It’s a difficult topic however, as PTSD sufferers certainly wouldn’t expect fireworks to be stopped, it’s simply about being courteous to those around you. Many PTSD sufferers won’t have told their neighbours necessarily, but having advanced knowledge of a fireworks display near to them can help allow them to better prepare and cope with any symptoms they may experience.
This year, perhaps leave the back garden fireworks to the experts at an organised event – you don’t know who could be suffering around you.
IMAGE: Fireworks by jeff_golden.
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Rachael Rachael was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the horrific symptoms she experienced following a surgery. Unfortunately, Rachael had a few ‘false starts’ with EMDR, where the services provided had a specific timeframe
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and how can it help PTSD? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves breathing in pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, to increase the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood. It works in a similar way
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THANK YOU!! We are a small charity so our main goals at the moment are to increase awareness that we exist (so people can get the support and information they need) and to maximise fundraising to allow us to achieve our mission of supporting everyone in the UK affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it.