DCoE Blog

  • Real Warriors: Roles of Family, Loved Ones in Substance Misuse
    Serviceman hugging his family.
    U.S. Army National Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Kiel Skager

    Substance misuse affects the entire family, and understanding how to cope is important. The road to recovery isn’t easy; it takes a fair amount of time and effort.

    The Real Warriors Campaign recently published an article about what to do – and not do – when you are concerned about a loved one’s substance misuse.

  • Coping with Flashbacks

    Some service members with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have flashbacks that can limit their quality of life. The Real Warriors campaign shares tools and valuable information for dealing with this particular hurdle of PTSD:

    Flashbacks happen when you feel like you are reliving a traumatic experience or memory. They can occur day or night, and can occur recently or even years after the event. You may remember the entire event or only details such as sounds and smells.

    Flashbacks can occur in veterans who have experienced a traumatic event. While not always, flashbacks are often a symptom of PTSD. They can occur as a result of combat, a training accident, sexual trauma or other traumatic events.

  • Tips from Real Warriors: What to Expect in Therapy
    A mental health specialist provides triage to a soldier during a behavioral health assessment.
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert

    Most of us are familiar with a cartoon depiction of what therapy looks like: a person on a couch sharing personal fears to a serious looking provider who sits in a chair with a notepad analyzing every word. If this is your only experience of what therapy is, it can seem quite daunting! One barrier to seeking treatment for a treatable psychological health condition can be fear of the unknown. A recent article by Real Warriors shares tips on how to get ready for your first appointment, and what to expect during the process.

    Thinking about attending a therapy session for the first time might make you feel uncomfortable. You may think seeking care will make you look weak or others will lose confidence in your abilities. Know that reaching out is a sign of strength. Seeking care early can lead to positive outcomes that benefit you, your family and your unit.

  • Guiding Service Members to Seek Help
    man in partial shadow
    DoD photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

    A service member’s own negative ideas about psychological health conditions and fear of what others might think are significant barriers to seeking treatment, Clinical Health Psychologist Bradford Applegate told attendees during a recent webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). These perceptions expand to all branches of the military. Applegate outlined practices to help providers facilitate greater rates of help-seeking behavior and successfully treat psychological health issues.

    According to a 2015 Army “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members,” less than 50 percent of active-duty and retired personnel diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are in treatment. Overall, only 21 percent of service members with a psychological disorder are receiving treatment. The stigma that surrounds PTSD and other psychological disorders contributes to these low numbers, said Applegate, who serves as a Real Warriors Campaign clinical psychological health subject matter expert for the Deployment Health Clinical Center.

  • Father’s Day Has Added Meaning for Veteran with PTSD
    Hall family
    Photo courtesy of Hall family

    For a typical dad, Father’s Day is a summer Sunday afternoon when the rest of the family showers him with gifts and affection.

    For retired Army Maj. Jeff Hall, Father’s Day is different. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has changed his outlook on life.

    “It is not about gifts,” Hall said. “It is more about us being together.”

  • Take the First Steps to Get Help for Psychological Health Concerns
    soldier shakes hands with chaplain
    U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Saucedo

    Seeking help for psychological health concerns allows you to play an active role in your own well-being. Once you decide to seek care, you may not know what steps to take next. There are many options for care and it is important to make a plan that best fits your needs. Experts such as counselors, chaplains and health care providers in the Military Health System (MHS) are excellent resources to turn to for help.

    Step 1: Choose Your Goals

    Identify the areas of your life that your symptoms negatively impact. Think about how you would like to improve these areas.

    Determine your short-term and long-term goals.

    • An example of a short-term goal is to replace negative thoughts with positive thinking.
    • An example of a long-term goal is to reduce how often and how intensely you feel depressed or anxious.