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  • 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:

  • Lessons Learned in Sports Concussion Management

    Read the full story: Lessons Learned in Sports Concussion Management
    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis

    Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) experts discussed how best practices in sports concussion management benefit military medicine during a recent webinar. Just as athletic trainers and civilian sports medicine doctors decide when athletes are ready to get back in the game, military health care providers must assess when a service member can return to duty.

    Concussions make up more than 82 percent of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the military. The majority of these injuries happen in non-combat settings. Falls cause approximately 32 percent of concussions, and car accidents, assaults and impacts with objects (combined) account for the other 64 percent. These are similar to the same categories of injury mechanisms as sports-related concussions.

    However, concussions caused by blast exposure are also common in the military, said Dr. Scott Livingston, DVBIC education division director.

  • 10 Tips to Keep Resolutions on Track

    Read the full story: 10 Tips to Keep Resolutions on Track
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christopher Q. Stone

    The new year is a great time for making positive changes, which is why people often set resolutions. Your state of mind is important for sticking to resolutions, and dedicating time and energy to improving mental health can help. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) has resources for anyone who wants to develop a healthy mental outlook or has resolved to improve their wellness.

    Below are tools that can help you make positive changes and stick to your resolutions. You may even want to consider adding some of the recommendations below to your existing resolutions.

    • Schedule visits with a health care provider. Your health care provider is a good place to start your year. Routine physicals are essential in maintaining your optimal health.
  • New Year, New Medicine Cabinet

    Read the full story: New Year, New Medicine Cabinet
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker

    Take a look in your medicine cabinet. Are all of the medications up to date? Do your doctor and pharmacist have accurate records of what medicines you are currently taking? Now is the time to take charge of your medications and get organized.

    Step 1: Pitch Unused or Expired Medication

    Many of our medicine cabinets have bottles of prescribed and over-the-counter medications that are expired or that we no longer use. Safely disposing of these medications lowers the risk of misuse and environmental contamination. There are several programs available to help. The Military Health System has a drug take back program to help service members and their families dispose of their medications safely. The Department of Justice also has a national take-back initiative. Many local police stations also have similar programs.

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  • Clinical Guidelines for Suicide Prevention

    Read the full story: 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.

  • Improve Your Health with 4 Mindfulness Exercises

    Read the full story: Improve Your Health with 4 Mindfulness Exercises
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Knowles

    Mindfulness benefits both the mind and body. It can help you maintain control and balance and achieve your goals. Mindfulness can also help improve breathing, posture and other components of mind-body wellness through simple exercises.

    In addition to supporting psychological health, mindfulness can help improve overall wellness, said Mark Bates, associate director of psychological health promotion for the Deployment Health Clinical Center.

    “Psychological health is not just absence of illness, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being,” Bates said, referencing the World Health Organization definition.

    “You can easily work mindfulness exercises into day-to-day life without disrupting regular routines. In addition, linking new behaviors to existing routines is a powerful way to create new habits,” Bates said.

    “These very simple activities, when used every day, can make a big difference,” Bates said. “In fact, the power of these exercises — also called microhabits — lies in their simplicity and their benefits grow the more regularly you use them.”

    To start, choose an exercise that seems like a good fit with your goals and interests, Bates said. As you grow comfortable with that exercise, you can add more. Involving friends and family, and rewarding yourself, can help with motivation.