• Yoga Helps Me Manage PTSD
    Read the full story: Yoga Helps Me Manage PTSD
    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
    Hall family
    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.”

  • Deployment Training Helps Build Resilience at Home
    Best Soldier Competition
    U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher

    Mental resilience, a new buzzword in psychological health, has long been a goal of military training, although it hasn’t always been defined that way. Some of the goals of military training — unit cohesion, physical fitness, mental stability — could help service members after deployment too.

    Maj. Michael Gold has drawn on some of his training experience to develop tools that help him be more resilient in civilian life. He recalls preparing for the 101st Airborne Division deployment to southern Afghanistan during 2010-2011.

    “Everything we did attempted to incorporate building mental toughness into soldiers,” Gold said. “From individual training to collective training, our leader team incorporated different types of stressors for soldiers; whether it was a physical stressor added to an event or mental stressor forcing a soldier to make a decision. All this was to help soldiers prepare to operate outside their comfort zones in garrison in preparation for the complexities of actual deployment and combat.”

  • Treat Stress, Anxiety Early for Successful TBI Recovery
    Service member experiencing effects of anxiety. (DoD photo)

    Most first responders are familiar with the “golden hour”—those precious 60 minutes from the time a trauma patient is injured to when they should get medical attention. Although this magical hour remains a topic of debate among experts, most will agree that the sooner trauma is treated, the better the outcome.

    Health care providers should apply the same concept when treating patients for the stress and anxiety that accompany a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to Dr. C. Alan Hopewell, a subject matter expert with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

  • You Are Virtually Invited

    What are you doing Sept. 15-19?

    A good answer is you plan to learn more about the state-of-the-science and best practices in caring for service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health concerns.

    Two events next week sponsored by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) deliver practical knowledge and application of prevention and treatment strategies. These insights raise the bar on what service members and veterans should expect from military health care providers, from building resilience to recovery and support.

    “TBI Global Synapse: A Summit Without Borders,” Sept. 15-17, and “Psychological Health and Resilience Summit,” Sept. 17-19, split a week of education and training offered in both live and virtual environments.

  • Returning Home: Service Members, Families Discuss Reintegration Experiences

    Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of joy and excitement when a service member reunites with family and friends following deployment. Expectations run high. The emotional boost is exhilarating.

    However, when expectations don’t match reality, the transition back to life at home can be difficult and stressful. Returning home with psychological and physical injuries adds extra challenges.