Veterans with PTSD struggle with Independence Day fireworks - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Veterans with PTSD struggle with Independence Day fireworks

Posted: Updated:

For most Americans the Fourth of July is a time of celebration filled with food, fun and fireworks.

However, that last item can be a nightmare for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, fireworks can trigger anxiety in veterans with PTSD. The loud blasts and flashing light sometimes inducing panic attacks.

The phenomenon is something a Las Vegas family deals with every year.

Adriana Copeland never thought her Fourth of July Holiday, which used to include parades and barbecues, would now be a day marked by fear. Her husband, Chris Copeland, has PTSD.

"It's progressed since he retired, since he became a civilian," she said.

Chris Copeland served as a diesel mechanic for 16 years. He completed two tours in Iraq and retired from the Army in 2012. During his second tour, he was hit by a suicide bomb.

"Five of his guys died, and only two survived. He was one. And the doctor that was inside the Humvee [was the other]," Adriana Copeland said.

Adriana Copeland said it was that experience along with many others that left her husband with PTSD. She said he suffers with depression and anxiety. The loud bangs and lights that come with the Fourth of July flood Chris Copeland with emotions. He's had similar problems on other holidays and even birthdays.

"He can't even hear balloons. We never have balloons in the house because if it accidentally pops, he goes automatic into... he zones out. And he believes he is back in the war zone," Adriana Copeland said.

Chris Copeland is getting therapy. His wife hopes others will begin to recognize the sensitivity veterans with PTSD have to fireworks and limit them to July Fourth only.

Adriana Copeland said her husband this year turned in his gun at a nearby police station. She said he doesn't think he'd ever hurt anyone, but he surrendered his weapon because his first instinct when he hears a blast is to survive.

Doctors recommend noise-canceling headphones for people with PTSD on the Fourth of July to mitigate the effects of sudden, loud noises

There are several organizations service members can turn to for help.
Here are a few options:


military.com

dosomthing.org

takeaction.org




 

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:48:38 GMT
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
  • Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:26:48 GMT
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
  • Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:57:45 GMT
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • MorningsMorningsMore>>

  • Club Corp Charity Golf Outing

    Club Corp Charity Golf Outing

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-27 04:03:46 GMT
    The Skyline Club and TPC Michigan are hosting the 2014 ClubCorp Charity Classic Golf Outing. Its 18 holes of golf, continental breakfast, lunch, gifts prizes and awards! It's happening on Monday August 4, 2014.
    The Skyline Club and TPC Michigan are hosting the 2014 ClubCorp Charity Classic Golf Outing. Its 18 holes of golf, continental breakfast, lunch, gifts prizes and awards! It's happening on Monday August 4, 2014.
  • Back to School Style with Art Van Furniture

    Back to School Style with Art Van Furniture

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:02 AM EDT2014-07-27 04:02:48 GMT
    It is time to start thinking about sending young adults off to college, and while dorm rooms and apartments are often small, they can still have style.
    It is time to start thinking about sending young adults off to college, and while dorm rooms and apartments are often small, they can still have style.
  • Tech Talk: Wedding tips replace concept of disposable cameras

    Tech Talk: Wedding tips replace concept of disposable cameras

    Saturday, July 26 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 00:57:02 GMT
    It's not just the styles that have changed with weddings over the years -- it's also the technology. Disposable cameras used to be the norm, but now there's an even simpler way for the bride and groom to get some candid photos of their special day.
    It's not just the styles that have changed with weddings over the years -- it's also the technology. Disposable cameras used to be the norm, but now there's an even simpler way for the bride and groom to get some candid photos of their special day.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices