Large Fireworks Displays Prompt Mental Health Concerns

by | May 23, 2022 | Injuries

Every Independence Day in Israel and elsewhere, organizers try to put on a bigger and louder fireworks display. But in the Holy Land, low-key quiet pyrotechnics were the order of the day for this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

“We’re attentive to the hearts of the public, and after much thought, much reflection, and a comprehensive survey, I decided that there will be no fireworks this year at the Independence Day ceremony,” declared Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. Almost two dozen other cities followed suit. Loud fireworks are a triggering event for many people who suffer from PTSD.

In 2021, a Gaza War veteran struggling with PTSD, who was upset over an alleged lack of treatment, immolated himself in front of a regional Israeli Defense Force office. Defense Ministry director-general Amir Eshel said the event was a “wakeup call” and he promised to do better.

What Causes PTSD?

Most people know that extreme stress, such as a firefight in a foreign war or being in a car wreck, causes PTSD. But many people don’t know exactly what happens.

A chemical imbalance in two adjacent sections of the brain causes this brain injury. The cerebral cortex controls logical responses. The amygdala controls emotional responses.

Unless these two parts of the brain are perfectly balanced, people cannot function normally. When the amygdala overpowers the cerebral cortex, the victim experiences symptoms like:

  • Hypervigilance: Some car crash PTSD victims are afraid to get in a vehicle. Others have an unnatural fear of a certain intersection or certain area of town. Still others assume every speeding car will hit them.
  • Withdrawal: Loss of interest in a hobby or another previously pleasurable activity is almost a sure sign of PTSD. Essentially, these individuals cannot put forth the effort necessary to participate in the activity.
  • Moodswings: Emotional responses are highly unpredictable. So, if emotional responses take over, unpredictable mood swings follow. A person could be normal one minute, and the next minute, become depressed or even lash out at loved ones for no apparent reason.

About half of car crash victims have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since PTSD has a chemical cause, as outlined above, it has a chemical solution, as outlined below.

Car Crash PTSD Treatment

Some currently available drugs can restore the chemical balance and alleviate PTSD symptoms. Some possibilities include:

  • Antidepressants: These medications can help symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also help improve sleep problems and concentration. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment.
  • Anti-Anxiety Medications: These drugs can relieve severe anxiety and related problems. Some anti-anxiety medications have the potential for abuse, so they are generally used only for a short time.
  • Prazosin: While several studies indicated that prazosin (Minipress) may reduce or suppress nightmares in some people with PTSD, a more recent study showed no benefit over placebo. But participants in the recent study differed from others in ways that potentially could impact the results. Individuals who are considering prazosin should speak with a doctor to determine whether or not their particular situation might merit a trial of this drug.

These drugs are quite powerful. So, not everyone can tolerate the required dosage, especially since these drugs also have unpleasant side-effects.

Marijuana might be an alternative as well. Since marijuana is illegal in many states, and also illegal under federal law, there haven’t been too many marijuana-PTSD studies. So, it’s hard to tell. Additionally, early trials with MDMA (molly or ecstasy) have shown promise. Some PTSD patients made significant progress after just one dose.

Simply restoring the chemical balance isn’t enough. A brain injury therapist must intervene and help PTSD patients develop coping skills. Some options in this area include:

  • Cognitive Therapy: This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking (cognitive patterns) that are keeping you stuck, such as negative beliefs about yourself and the risk of traumatic things happening again. For PTSD, cognitive therapy often is used along with exposure therapy.
  • Exposure Therapy: This behavioral therapy helps you safely face both situations and memories that you find frightening so that you can learn to cope with them effectively. Exposure therapy can be particularly helpful for flashbacks and nightmares. One approach uses virtual reality programs that allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories and change how you react to them.

A Lexington personal injury attorney obtains compensation that covers the high medical bills associated with these pharmaceutical and therapeutic treatments.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.