DCoE Blog

  • Getting Back on Track: Changing Your Behavior to Achieve Goals

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    DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Pablo N. Piedra

    Many of us approach resolutions for the new year with great determination, but then find that the road to success is bumpier than expected. Spring is a good time to take stock of how you’re doing. If you feel you aren’t meeting your goals, it’s not too late to regroup and set yourself up for success.

    Bradford Applegate, a behavioral health expert with the Deployment Health Clinical Center, explained some reasons people give up on personal goals and why success requires behavior change. When you change counterproductive behaviors and adopt new ones, you’re more likely to see positive growth, he said.

  • Learn to Recognize, Control Post-Deployment Anger

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf

    Feeling anger is a normal part of your emotional spectrum. Service members may find that anger is a useful emotion during combat. However, once they return home, that anger — and the experiences that come with it — can cause problems. A recent webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury addressed these problems and potential solutions.

    Signs of Anger

    Anger can range in intensity from irritation to rage and can be helpful or harmful, depending on the situation. The body reacts to anger with increased adrenaline, alertness, heart rate and blood pressure. Certain physical reactions (a clenched jaw, muscle tension, shakiness, restlessness, agitation, etc.) can help signal feelings of anger, even if you are not aware of those feelings. Over time excessive anger can cause long-term health issues.

  • When the Blues Last Beyond Winter

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    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.

  • Celebrate Good Times! No Luck, Charms or Alcohol Required

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    DoD photo by Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

    Unless you’ve been hiding under the Blarney Stone, you’ve seen the shamrocks — St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. In America, many adults celebrate the holiday with Irish jigs, witty toasts — and a lot of alcohol. But, if you are coping with posttraumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI) you may want to pass up that pint of green beer.

    Many trauma survivors use alcohol to relieve pain and other symptoms, but the relationship between combat stress and substance use is counterproductive and can be dangerous. And drinking alcohol with a TBI can complicate your injury or delay recovery.

  • Coping with Flashbacks

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    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.

  • Why I Give: Stories on Volunteering, Giving Back (Olivera Teodorovic)

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    Photo courtesy of Olivera Teodorovic

    When people hear “Superwoman,” the words justice and strength may come to mind. This cherished comic book character positively affects the lives of those she encounters, but who’s to say she isn’t real? This is the final article in a four-part series that shares how four superwomen change lives and take on unique, yet rewarding, challenges as they offer their time as community volunteers.

    I’m A Big Sister

    “The decision to become a big sister wasn’t hard,” said Olivera Teodorovic, a graphics illustrator at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. “I have absolutely no regrets.”

    Teodorovic volunteers with a well-established youth mentoring network in South Puget Sound, Washington. She had long known she wanted to help someone. Her family values new experiences — her parents emigrated from the former country of Yugoslavia (now Serbia) to the United States when she was young.