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  • 10 Tips to Keep Resolutions on Track

    Read the full story: 10 Tips to Keep Resolutions on Track
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christopher Q. Stone

    The new year is a great time for making positive changes, which is why people often set resolutions. Your state of mind is important for sticking to resolutions, and dedicating time and energy to improving mental health can help. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) has resources for anyone who wants to develop a healthy mental outlook or has resolved to improve their wellness.

    Below are tools that can help you make positive changes and stick to your resolutions. You may even want to consider adding some of the recommendations below to your existing resolutions.

    • Schedule visits with a health care provider. Your health care provider is a good place to start your year. Routine physicals are essential in maintaining your optimal health.
  • ICYMI: Hot-topic Blogs of 2016

    Read the full story: ICYMI: Hot-topic Blogs of 2016

    Throughout 2016, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), National Center for Telehealth and Technology, AfterDeployment, Real Warriors Campaign and A Head for the Future addressed many issues related to psychological health and traumatic brain injury on their respective blogs.

    These articles featured ways to prevent, recognize and treat depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or traumatic brain injury (TBI); tips for better sleep; how to manage sports injuries; and more.

  • 5 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

    Read the full story: 5 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy D. Hughes

    The holiday season can be a challenge if you are trying to control your weight. But, you can overcome many of these challenges with good self-management tools, according to Dr. Andrew Philip, a health psychologist for the Deployment Health Clinical Center.

    Holiday eating is responsible for much of the weight people gain over the year. Studies show that while individuals tend to only gain 1-2 pounds over the holiday season, that extra weight tends to stay with them and accumulate over the years.

  • [How-to] Quit Smoking: You Can Do It!

    Read the full story: [How-to] Quit Smoking: You Can Do It!
    Quitting tobacco is the number one thing we can do to improve health.

    Tobacco use remains an important public health problem. Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use among Americans remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease. But, there is hope. In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 10,244 service members sought treatment for tobacco dependence.

    It’s never too late to be among those asking for help. Coaching from a health care provider can help you kick your tobacco habit. If you are a service member, retiree or military family member, you can ask your primary care manager about working with an internal behavioral health consultant (IHBC). These consultants are specially-trained psychologists or social workers with the Military Health System.

    To learn more about how these consultants can help, I sat down with Capt. Anne Dobmeyer, a psychologist with the Deployment Health Clinical Center who helped the military implement the IHBC program.

    “We know that quitting tobacco is the number one thing we can do to improve health,” Dobmeyer said.

  • Depression Symptoms Can Increase with Concussion

    Read the full story: Depression Symptoms Can Increase with Concussion
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Teddy Wade

    Many service members who sustain a concussion also cope with depression. There is a distinct connection between depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, depression diagnoses increase after a brain injury.

    “Sometimes the challenge is [that] post-concussive syndrome can sound the same as depression,” said Kelvin Lim, principal investigator for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center location at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System. “It is important to be aware of overlap between the two.”

    TBI and Depression

    Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center research found that depression can strongly influence post-concussion symptoms following a concussion. The study shows that patients who are diagnosed with both a concussion and depression report more severe symptoms than patients with only a concussion.

    Asking the right questions can help providers prescribe the right treatment. Through targeted questioning a provider can distinguish if the patient’s post-concussive symptoms are similar to depression, or if the patient is experiencing co-occurring conditions. The right questions can lead to the right diagnosis. The right diagnosis leads to the right treatment.

  • Experts Explore How Combat Roles May Affect Women’s Psychological Health

    Read the full story: Experts Explore How Combat Roles May Affect Women’s Psychological Health
    DCoE photo by Terry Welch

    The military is a lot different for women today than it was 20 years ago. More women serve and they serve in many new roles, including combat. Exploring the challenges women service member’s may face, and how those challenges may affect their psychological health, was the focus of a panel discussion during the 2016 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit.

    Expanded Roles for Women in the Military

    The history of our nation’s military isn’t complete without women. Since the Revolutionary War women cared for the wounded and supported a variety of military operations.

    The number of female service members started to climb in 1994 when the direct ground combat definition and assignment rule went into effect, said Dr. Tracey Koehlmoos, health services administration division director at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. This definition and rule allowed women to fill more military occupations as long as they weren’t in direct combat.