DCoE Blog

  • To Drink or Not to Drink: Have a Plan
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

    Parties and special occasions usually involve games, music and alcoholic beverages. They are times of festivity and fun. For someone concerned about alcohol intake or battling substance abuse, social events may seem threatening. But it is possible to participate in activities that include alcohol.

    Get the Facts about Risky Drinking

    The first step to understanding your alcohol limits is to know the facts, signs and symptoms about alcohol abuse. The Deployment Health Clinical Center gives examples of alcohol misuse and facts about risky driving:

    • Drinking more or for a longer time than you intend
    • Continuing to drink even though it makes you feel depressed or anxious
    • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you don’t drink
  • Tools to Make Deployments Easier
    DoD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Theanne Tangen, U.S. Army National Guard

    Deployment is a unique challenge that almost every military family faces at some point. Military spouses can experience stress, loneliness and even depression. Thankfully, tools for confronting deployment issues are available through AfterDeployment to make times of separation easier.

    As a military spouse, you have a lot on your plate – and if you’re also a parent, you have to balance those challenges with the needs of your children. It’s a tall order, and you often have to juggle all those plates alone if your spouse has regular deployments.

    The stressors are many: financial concerns, worries about a deployed spouse’s safety, frequent moves, social isolation. If you have kids, you also have the added work of being a “single parent” when your spouse is deployed. When your spouse returns home, you’re grateful, but you might also find that getting your family back to normal is harder than you expected.

    The only good thing is, you can anticipate some of these stressors and make sure you’re ready for them. So how can you as a military spouse and/or parent keep mentally fit?

    Read the full AfterDeployment blog and learn deployment strategies to help your loved ones and children build resilience.

  • History of Military Medical Advancements in Brain Injury Treatment
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Nelson Robles

    We hear a lot about concussion in mainstream media, whether it’s a hit movie, Sunday football or even your child’s school newsletter. It hasn’t always been that way. Why do we hear so much about concussions now? Much of our new awareness stems from progress in brain injury research by military medicine.

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) research in the military has come a long way, even before the recent conflicts, said Dr. Louis French, deputy director of operations at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. French, a clinical psychologist, outlined military TBI history in a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Historically, medical advances often occur in times of war or conflict, when the military finds cutting-edge ways to save lives.

  • Accepting Emotions Helps PTSD Recovery, Military Medical Expert Says
    DoD photo by Sidney R. Hinds III

    Avoiding unwanted memories and emotions can stifle recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Dr. Richard Stoltz, deputy director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE).

    Dissociation related to trauma looks different for each person, Stoltz told attendees at the Society of Federal Health Professionals (AMSUS) conference Nov. 29. Some PTSD survivors repress a memory so much that they don’t remember the trauma at all. Others actively think of something else the moment they begin to remember traumatic events. Dissociation also means that people may shut down mentally or emotionally when recalling a trauma so that they numb the feelings associated with it.

    These and other coping strategies are actually counterproductive in recovery, Stoltz explained. Blocking out feelings may help someone perform better or even survive during an emergency or combat situation. However, continuing to block the event or the feelings afterward is harmful.

    “If you’ve gone through a traumatic situation, when you’re back in a safe place, you need to figure out when you’re going to consciously get in touch with your feelings about it,” Stoltz said.

  • Military Families Matter: These Resources Help Build Family Resilience
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

    Military families face unique life challenges. They rely on support to help them face things such as military moves and transitions, deployments and separations, or injuries.

    In today’s tech-centered world, the military makes it easy to help families find resources to conquer challenges and build resilience. It can be as simple as an internet search.

    Resources for Families

    When service members enlist, their families are directly affected. Whether the family member is a spouse, parent, sibling, adult child or caretaker of a service member, it's important for them to find ways to stay resilient.

  • Alcohol Use, PTSD among Combat Servicewomen
    woman in battle dress fatigues briefing service men and women
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amy M. Ressler

    Women didn’t officially serve in ground combat positions until 2013. However, many of them did their jobs in real-time combat settings, often under direct fire. Despite this, research on how deployment affects women is limited. Scientists discussed the need for more research and other post-deployment concerns that affect female service members during a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    Where’s the Data?

    Almost half of female service members eligible for care through the Defense Health Agency do not use it. This lack of use makes it harder to gather data on their post-combat experiences. Also, most of the post-deployment studies on PTSD and substance use disorder occurred before women openly served in combat. This means most deployment-related studies do not accurately reflect the experiences of women.