Fireworks can cause triggers for veterans suffering with PTSD

BOWIE, TX (KAUZ) - A condition that affects many military veterans was brought to the forefront at noon Tuesday with a balloon release.

It was done to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder. The condition can affect military veterans' daily lives, especially on the Fourth of July.

Robert Beggs, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Marines, said the loud noises can remind veterans of the front lines and bombs going off around them. He said talking about the condition can really help veterans.

"We all took an oath to serve, to uphold the Constitution, that never goes away," Beggs said. "A lot of times fireworks and stuff like that can bring back flashbacks. They can bring back things that are uncomfortable."

Experts said the best thing someone suffering from PTSD can do is open up.

"It helps their family help them through this situation," Karen Self said. "A trigger will put them back in that situation, right back into the frontlines in the middle of all that."

Beggs said he was trained to run towards the conflict, not away from it, which makes it difficult for veterans to avoid their triggers sometimes.

"It's flight or fight and you want to choose flight because you've already been through the fight part of it," Beggs said.

He has developed a method to deal with his triggers and it has been helping him cope with his PTSD.

"Go through your steps," he said. "What triggered it? What caused it? And what can I do about it?"

He advised other veterans to stay clear of situations that may cause a trigger in the first place if possible.

Beggs said opening up about his PTSD has helped him cope with the condition.

Beggs, like other veterans suffering from the condition, attend meetings with the Military Veterans Peer Network.

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