Category: Blog

PTSD and Fireworks

Independence Day in the United States is often celebrated with family picnics, parties, and fireworks. Scheduled fireworks displays are not necessarily a problem for veterans suffering from PTSD, but private and often illegal fireworks in the neighborhoods surrounding our veterans can cause flashbacks and anxiety as they relive bombs, gunfire, and explosions from their previous deployment.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder affects many veterans returning from active duty. Popular therapy has focused on trauma-based programs favored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense. However, a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that these therapies were only effective in about one-third of the veterans who were tested.

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The first Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was formed in 2008 in Buffalo NY by the Honorable Robert Russell who saw increasing numbers of veterans coming into his Drug and Mental Health Courts. He worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and local veterans organizations to create a docket that specifically deals with veterans involved in the justice system.

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Two US Senators have introduced a bill that will allow veterans to seek innovative treatments to combat PTSD and other mental health issues. It is known as the Veterans Post traumatic Growth Act and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a pilot program that will study nonprofit therapeutic programs relative to traditional models of mental healthcare.

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A new survey of veterans shows that the greatest issues facing newly discharged vets are physical and mental health problems rather than jobs or personal relationships. The survey was conducted by researchers at the VA National Center for PTSD and other locations and encompassed nearly 10,000 veterans in the first year following their discharge.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates as many as 20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are suffering from PTSD. Operation Rubix offers a variety of services to help veterans with PTSD and other issues, but since “one size” does not fit all, some veterans may be better suited for alternative assistance such as a service dog.

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