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  • TBI Patients: Don’t Forgo Good Sleep

    Read the full story: Don’t Forgo Good Sleep
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret

    Good sleep is essential if you’re recovering from traumatic brain injury (TBI). That’s the simple but powerful message two Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) experts delivered July 3 to listeners of Federal News Radio, 1500 AM.

    Kathy Helmick, DVBIC deputy director, and Dr. Therese West, DVBIC subject matter expert, talked about what’s needed to help brain injury patients with sleep problems on the station’s morning program, The Federal Drive.

    Helmick referred to DVBIC’s new products health care providers can use to diagnose and treat sleep disorders in patients with mild TBI, also known as concussion.

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  • Deployment Guide Benefits Families, Friends of Service Members

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    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John Suleski

    Your spouse walks in and gives you the news you’ve been expecting but secretly hoped wouldn’t actually come: His unit is deploying in two months. Sure, you knew this was pending, but finally having a deployment date triggers feelings that you’ve been keeping at bay for weeks. Now a wave of emotions washes over you: fear, stress, loneliness, anticipation and pride. It’s hard to make sense of it all.

    Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-deployment, Deployment and Reintegration”

    Deployment is not a singular experience. As a family member or friend, the deployment of a loved one may draw you into emotions and challenges you’ve no experience managing. How do you prepare for a loved one’s deployment? How are you going to get through each day without being consumed with worry? What can you expect when she or he returns and for families, what impact will this all have on the kids?

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  • Will Exposure Therapy to Treat PTSD Work for You?

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    Retired Army Col. Michael J. Roy, who oversees the "Virtual Iraq" exposure therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, conducts a demonstration of the therapy used to treat patients with PTSD. (DoD photo by John J. Kruzel)

    “Close your eyes and think about the vacation you took on a warm, sunny beach. Now, tell me every detail of what you see, hear, smell and feel.”
    - imaginal exposure therapy

    “Let’s take a trip to the beach today.”
    - in vivo exposure therapy

    “Step into this replica of your beach vacation, which you’ll experience with all your senses as if you’re actually there, but I’ll control the environment so you won’t get too hot, too sandy or too uncomfortable overall.”
    - virtual reality exposure therapy

    We’re not actually going to talk about your beach vacation. These scenarios represent different exposure therapy techniques mental health care providers use to treat patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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  • Improve Your Knowledge of Psychological Health, TBI With DCoE Monthly Webinars

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    U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Brian Glass

    July is here and the 2014 webinar series Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) hosts is at its halfway point. Did you miss any of the interesting topics? Or, did you learn that:

    • Stress disorders, such as PTSD, may not be all psychosocial; biology may be a factor
    • Concussion may affect men differently than women
    • Headache symptoms can help diagnose traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    • Treatment of mild to moderate sleep disturbance can help co-occurring psychological health issues, and prevent negative health consequences

    DCoE hosts monthly webinars to educate participants on advances in psychological health and TBI treatments, research, and emerging technologies to better support service members, families and health care providers.

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  • Meditation May Help PTSD Symptoms

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    Maj. Victor Won, left, teaches fellow soldiers and family members at U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern some techniques to reduce stress and improve resiliency. (U.S. Army photo by Mindy Campbell)

    Dr. Marina Khusid is the chief of integrative medicine for psychological health research at Deployment Health Clinical Center. Khusid translates research findings to guide clinical recommendations related to complementary and integrative medicine applications for psychological health.

    If you or someone you care about has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy remain the gold standards for treatment. But, you may also find relief in complementary therapies, treatments that don’t yet have sufficient evidence to be considered as a first-line treatment, but are shown to help some people with symptom management and relief. Meditation is a complementary therapy many service members and veterans with PTSD find helps them feel better.

    Meditation is a form of mental training. You train your mind by practicing various breathing and concentration techniques to improve your mental state and regulate your emotions.

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