DCoE Blog

  • Is Depression Affecting Your Military Family? These New Resources Can Help
    Service member looks at picture of his family.
    Photo courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    New publications for military communities to learn more about depression are now available to download on the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) website.

    “We created these materials to help patients and family members better understand and manage depression, a very common health concern,” said Cmdr. Angela Williams, chief of evidence-based practice at DHCC.

    They include a brochure, “Depression: Fast Facts for Families” and a booklet, “Understanding Depression: A Resource for Providers and Patients,” which DHCC created through a collaborative effort with the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs.

     

  • When the Blues Last Beyond Winter

    Although it is spring and the days are getting longer in the northern hemisphere, the lingering cold and harsh weather can limit your exposure to sunshine. People in areas with less sunshine may experience feelings of sadness, fatigue or hopelessness. A form of depression, called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can affect people in low-light conditions.

    Seasonal affective disorder occurs when fluctuating and decreasing levels of sunlight cause imbalances in your serotonin levels. The resulting depression can lead to difficulty getting out of bed in the morning or reduced interest in activities.

  • Things You Need to Know About Depression
    Read the full story: Things You Need to Know About Depression

    Although people use the words depressed or depression to refer to a sad mood, it is much more than just a bad day. Depression is a complicated condition with many aspects.

    According to the National Institute for Mental Health, depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or working. Misunderstandings about depression can hinder proper identification and treatment. Additionally, the signs and effects of depression can differ from person to person. The Deployment Health Clinical Center outlines six key aspects of depression:

  • Clinical Guidelines for Suicide Prevention

    Suicide is a significant problem for the Defense Department. For providers, an essential piece of suicide prevention is a proven, step-by-step approach to treating potentially suicidal patients. A recent webinar presented by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury highlighted how the military constantly updates its suicide clinical practice guidelines.

    Eric Rodgers, director of the evidence-based practice program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), talked about the standards and procedures for updating these guidelines.

    Suicide clinical practice guidelines undergo review by evidence-based practice workgroups. Workgroups include representatives from VA and the Defense Department, as well as individuals from multiple disciplines. They incorporate patient input and identify how new guidelines will affect treatment outcomes. The groups which oversee the suicide guidelines include members specifically chosen to address the subject of suicide.

    Guidelines often need multiple reviews before approval. In some cases they may not meet standards for approval at all.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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