• ‘But, I Don’t Drink Every Day’
    Take a mental health screening

    April is Alcohol Awareness Month — a good time to assess drinking habits. People may hear this and joke that they’re fully aware of their drinking, but problem drinking is no laughing matter. Although drinking is a legal and accepted part of our society, for many it can lead to broken relationships, brushes with the law and for some service members, major career setbacks.

    If drinking is so common and accepted, how do we know if we have a problem with alcohol? Many people mistakenly believe that if they don’t drink every day they don’t have a problem. Actually, both maintenance drinking (drinking every day) and binge drinking (drinking excessively when you do drink) can suggest a problem with alcohol.

    The effects of drinking on home or work life may also provide clues, although you may not see this. A problem relationship with drinking isn’t always clear to the person doing the drinking.

  • DCoE Facebook Event Promotes Mental Health Resources

    Online virtual ‘fair’ offers live interface with informative, front-line resources.

    The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) will host an online “Virtual Mental Health Fair” on Facebook, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) June 19.

    Government and non-profit organizations dedicated to mental health care for service members, veterans and their families will showcase their resources in a virtual exhibit hall where beneficiaries, caregivers and health care providers can browse among booths to view and access resources.

  • Problem Drinker? Get Screened, Find Out
    Man with drinks at a bar
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Russell McBride

    If you are like many people in the United States, you may occasionally drink alcohol. For most, drinking moderately is safe and may even offer health benefits. However, drinking can become a problem for some and for others, like those taking certain medications or living with medical conditions, it shouldn’t be used at all.

    April is designated “Alcohol Awareness Month” to draw attention to the seriousness of alcohol abuse. (April 11 is National Alcohol Screening Day). Because it can be difficult to realize when or if your drinking has become a problem, service members, veterans and their families are encouraged to take advantage of the free, anonymous alcohol-use screenings provided by Military Pathways.

    The screenings ask users to answer a simple set of questions about their drinking habits. Once users complete the screening, they receive feedback as to whether their symptoms are consistent with alcohol misuse as well as a list of resources on how and where to get further evaluation and help.

  • Eat, Drink and Be Merry… Responsibly
    Family beside a Christmas tree
    U.S. Marine Corps photo

    Family dinners, work parties, happy hours, New Year’s festivities and many other social gatherings are prevalent during this time of year. Typically a joyous time with family and friends, these activities often lead to overeating and indulging ourselves in unhealthy foods we normally would resist, as well as drinking more frequently and potentially abusively.

    Whether the drinking environment is centered on grandma’s brandy eggnog or other holiday alcoholic drinks, we live in a culture that tells us it’s OK to drink during the holidays. Throughout the season, there is an increase in availability of alcohol at parties and family functions we attend, which may make it more difficult for those trying to avoid drinking too much. Additionally, many holiday drinks are mixed, making the strength of the alcohol content relatively unknown. A drink like this is often stronger than a standard drink, and can get the unwary drinker into trouble.

  • After Service, Find
    Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

    Getting started is often the most difficult step in any process. If you’re a service member struggling with depression, sleep difficulties, posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injury or any number of challenges to living a healthy, balanced life post-deployment, taking that first step toward improvement can be daunting. As simple as it seems, even clicking on a website that offers help for your concerns requires a leap of faith in yourself and the website.

    That’s well understood by the developers of AfterDeployment, an interactive wellness resource. Created specifically for service members, their families, veterans and health care providers, it takes into consideration the unique combination of issues service members could encounter post-deployment and guides their self-discovery through an engaging, media-rich experience.

  • ‘Military Medicine’ Supplement Focuses on Psychological Health, TBI
    DCoE develops special medical journal supplement to highlight advances in psychological health and TBI. (DCoE photo)

    What’s the impact of multiple deployments and repeated traumatic stressors on service members? Why are a significant number of military personnel experiencing psychological injuries following their deployments? What treatment options are available? What’s being done to help advance the field of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health?

    If these questions are on your mind, consider reading the special edition of “Military Medicine.” Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) subject matter experts and others share updated research to better understand current psychological health and TBI conditions affecting the health, occupational and personal functioning of service members and veterans. Published by The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), the journal identifies effective screening tools, diagnostic technologies and treatments for major areas of concern like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance use disorder and TBI.