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  • Signs of Respect: Support Veterans with PTSD this Fourth of July

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    Military members and their families watch a fireworks display during a Fourth of July celebration event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Troutman)

    From the top of a hill in my northwest neighborhood in the District of Columbia, you can see the U.S. Capitol in the distance. On the Fourth of July, many of my neighbors gather here as the sun sets to watch the national fireworks display.

    The dome of the Capitol, illuminated beneath the fireworks’ spectacular bursts of color, reminds us why we do this every year — our freedom, the fight for it and the lasting need to defend it.

    PTSD and Fireworks

    For days before and after the official celebration, spontaneous neighborhood festivities abound. Sparklers amuse children. Firecrackers and roman candles entertain teenagers and adults. Smoke and the smell of gunpowder linger in the summer heat, blending with the smell of backyard barbecue.

    Although patriotic in spirit, impromptu fireworks do not ignite universal delight. These unexpected explosions cause some service members and combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to experience overwhelming anxiety.

  • Curious About PTSD? Start Your Research Here

    Read the full story: Curious About PTSD? Start Your Research Here

    In 2010, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution naming June 27 National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day to increase public knowledge of this condition and help promote PTSD resources and PTSD treatment options.

    Help for Patients, Providers

    The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) offers a number of resources to help service members and veterans with PTSD, providers who treat patients with the condition, and those who want to spread awareness. The DCoE website provides access to general information about PTSD, myths and facts about PTSD, and available PTSD treatment options.

    Bookmark (and share) these top resources:

    • PTSD 101 Infographic: Created by DCoE, this graphic reviews the basics of PTSD. It is available for download including the common causes, symptom categories, PTSD numbers and clinically recommended treatment options.
  • What Is PTSD?

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    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that people can develop after being exposed to one or more traumatic events such as a serious accident, combat, or sexual or physical assault. PTSD may also result from direct, indirect or repeated exposure to details of an event, as in the case of first responders, clinicians or other caregivers who work with trauma patients.

    Symptoms of PTSD include re-experiencing the traumatic event in the form of flashbacks, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts.

  • Yoga Helps Me Manage PTSD

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    Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Eder practices yoga, which helps him with posttraumatic stress disorder (Courtesy photo by Chris Eder)

    As our medical understanding of the brain continues to grow, treatment options for brain-related issues continue to expand. Service members with a psychological condition or traumatic brain injury now have a variety of clinical treatment options as well as supplemental care options. These choices for care can feel overwhelming or confusing at times. This series will feature stories by service members and veterans sharing how a particular treatment, either clinically recommended or complementary, helped them cope and heal. All experiences shared are that of the author. Anyone coping with a psychological health concern or traumatic brain injury should work with their health care provider to determine the best treatment option for their individual needs.

    In the first post, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Eder describes how yoga helped him with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    When I first practiced yoga in 1999, I wasn’t seeking enlightenment or to become a better person. I wasn’t even looking for relief from PTSD. I was in pain from a pinched sciatic nerve, and I discovered that yoga stretches made my pain go away for longer periods than cortisone shots. It wasn’t long before I noticed that yoga also relieved symptoms of my attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. I was hooked!

  • Father’s Day Has Added Meaning for Veteran with PTSD

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    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.”

  • Web, Mobile Technology Helps Military Health Beneficiaries Assess, Improve Mental Health

    Read the full story: Web, Mobile Technology Helps Military Health Beneficiaries Assess, Improve Mental Health
    Courtesy photo

    A typical day in our modern world can involve a considerable amount of stress and anxiety. In an effort to help service members—and their families—better cope with such pressures, the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) develops psychological health-based mobile applications and websites. A recent article by the Military Health System Communications Office explores how these tools can help service members and their families.

    “The great thing about these applications and web tools is that they allow us to have a much bigger impact with our target population,” said David Cooper, psychologist and mobile applications lead at T2. “For instance, Breathe2Relax has been downloaded more than 300,000 times. I could never see that many patients in my entire scope of practice. The technology and applications we’re developing at T2 are really helping us provide better overall care.” At the same time, physicians note that an app is not a substitute for direct medical care and, if needed, people should seek professional help.

    Read the full article from Military Health System Communications Office, “Web, mobile technology helps MHS beneficiaries assess, improve mental health,” on the health.mil website.