Fireworks can spark symptoms of PTSD for combat veterans

Fireworks can spark symptoms of PTSD for combat veterans

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

While New Years Eve is all about celebration, it can actually be tough for some veterans, especially those coping with even mild post traumatic stress.

About eight percent of Americans suffer PTSD at any given time, according to ptsdunited.org. That is 24.4 million people or the entire population of Texas. 

Mathew Gutierrez, a veteran of the Marines who served in Iraq just finished a program through the VA to help with his symptoms. 

"It was just helpful in a way to talk through your problems and what you went through and just open up," Gutierrez said. 

When it comes to the holidays like Fourth of July or New Years Eve, hearing those loud booms from fireworks can trigger strong emotions.

"Your heart starts racing, it pumps," Gutierrez said. "It kinda gives you kinda a flashback of being in that situation when I first was in country." 

Gutierrez said he tries his best to district himself if he know there's people popping them around him.

"I don't have that much of a problem anymore but I use to just like turn up the TV, and watch the ball drop and turn up loud noises," Gutierrez said. 

He adds it is a good idea to go ahead and let any veteran neighbors know if you plan to light off any fireworks. 

"We as veterans and military personnel go through this day to day and some people don't even realize it, they have it, and it's an on-going issue," Gutierrez said.

If you are caught with fireworks within the city limits, it is a misdemeanor with a fine up to a thousand dollars. To report any activity, Lubbock Police ask to call the non-emergency number at (806) 775-2865.

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