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  • Tips from Real Warriors: What to Expect in Therapy

    Read the full story: Tips from Real Warriors: What to Expect in Therapy
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert

    Most of us are familiar with a cartoon depiction of what therapy looks like: a person on a couch sharing personal fears to a serious looking provider who sits in a chair with a notepad analyzing every word. If this is your only experience of what therapy is, it can seem quite daunting! One barrier to seeking treatment for a treatable psychological health condition can be fear of the unknown. A recent article by Real Warriors shares tips on how to get ready for your first appointment, and what to expect during the process.

    Thinking about attending a therapy session for the first time might make you feel uncomfortable. You may think seeking care will make you look weak or others will lose confidence in your abilities. Know that reaching out is a sign of strength. Seeking care early can lead to positive outcomes that benefit you, your family and your unit.

  • College Success After Traumatic Brain Injury

    Read the full story: College Success After Traumatic Brain Injury
    Image courtesy U.S. Army

    As a service member or veteran, you have all the advantages of your military training and experience to help you succeed in college. You’ve learned the importance of discipline, dependability teamwork and how to show respect. You know how to set goals and raise the bar for everyone around you. These skills will serve you well.

    Nevertheless, entering or returning to school after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may feel challenging. You may find yourself coping with persistent symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, pain, vision and hearing problems, dizziness, and mood changes. You may also feel overwhelmed or have difficulty staying focused.

    Strong support systems at colleges and universities can help you through these challenges. However, it’s important to be your own advocate and educate yourself about what resources are available.

  • Review Clinical Study Methods before You Accept Results, Expert Says

    Read the full story: Review Clinical Study Methods before You Accept Results, Expert Says
    U.S. Navy photo by Douglas Stutz

    As new medical treatment approaches and platforms come along, providers should check whether the evidence offered to support the new approaches actually proves what it claims. This is especially important when it comes to non-inferiority studies, which try to show that a new approach is no worse than the old one, said Derek Smolenski, an epidemiologist and quantitative methodologist for the National Center for Telehealth & Technology.

    A non-inferiority study is conducted to prove, or disprove, that a new form of treatment is no worse than the current standard of treatment, or if it is, that it is not unacceptably worse. Because this type of study is often used to compare new approaches like video conferencing and electronic self-help resources to current methods, a provider’s ability to critically analyze the findings of such studies is paramount, Smolenski said in a webinar hosted last month by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

  • Get Your Head Out of the Game to Prevent TBI

    Read the full story: Get Your Head Out of the Game to Prevent TBI
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebecca Eller

    As fall sports season begins for students and families, players can reduce the risk of a concussion by learning to tackle properly in sports such as football, lacrosse and rugby. Coaches may tell players to get their heads in the game, but players shouldn’t take that literally, warned an expert with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

    Learning to lead with the shoulder and not the head or helmet is important for all sports that involve contact, said Scott Livingston, director of education for DVBIC.

    “Take the head out of the game,” he said. “Don’t use the head as a weapon. Don’t aim for an opponent’s head.”

  • Counting Sheep? 10 Tips to Help Foster Healthy Sleep Habits

    Read the full story: Counting Sheep? 10 Tips to Help Foster Healthy Sleep Habits

    Sleep is important for healthy brain function, emotional well-being and overall good physical health. But many service members and veterans are not getting the sleep they need. A study conducted by Rand Corp. determined about 70 percent of deployable service members reported six hours or less of sleep per day, almost half said they sleep poorly and one-third felt fatigued three to four times per week.

    Psychological health concerns or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may make sleep even more difficult. Sleep disturbances are common for those recovering from a brain injury, while nightmares are common for those who have experienced trauma. Making simple changes to your behavior and environment — sleep schedule, bedtime habits and daily lifestyle choices — can help you get a better night’s rest.

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  • Sending Your Child Back to School after Concussion

    Read the full story: Sending Your Child Back to School after Concussion
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

    Although summer isn’t quite over, many kids are shifting attention to the upcoming school year. If you are a parent, you’ve most likely started back-to-school prep: shopping for new clothes, buying school supplies and organizing new daily routines. While you’re thinking ahead, don’t forget to plan for any special needs for your child who may have experienced a summer head injury. A common injury that affects school performance is concussion. 

    A concussion is a jolt or blow to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Children often get them by falling down, running into things, getting struck by objects or playing sports. A concussion can cause cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms. Your child might report symptoms like headaches, dizziness, blurry vision or trouble paying attention. If you have any concerns, seek medical attention promptly.