A Veterans Day Message of Thanks for 2015

Veterans deserve to be honored today for their sacrifice in defending our country and its ideals. Not only individual sacrifice from members in the military, but also the sacrifices made by their family and children.

Veterans also deserve access to quality mental health care. Veterans also deserve not to be discriminated against for acknowledging the emotional scars that combat can leave behind in an individual. So while the Veterans...
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How to Eliminate Recurring Nightmares

All of us have nightmares. Maybe in your nightmare you’re being chased by some terrifying but unknown entity. Maybe you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires or hordes of zombies. Maybe you’re trapped in a room with snakes or spiders or any other animal you fear. Maybe you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck or a violent assault.

Maybe you keep having this nightmare over and over. And it’s so real, so vivid, so frightening that the last thing you want to do is fall back asleep.

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Best of the Web

Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often is linked to military veterans, but it can affect anyone following a traumatic event. There are five subtypes: normal stress response, acute stress disorder, uncomplicated PTSD, comorbid PTSD and complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances and flashbacks, where the sufferer relives the trauma, are hallmarks of the disease.

PTSD has several other symptoms, some of which overlap with other disorders. These include a loss of interest in regular activities, feeling depressed, anxious and difficulty concentrating. A person with PTSD may find it difficult to relate to loved ones. Instead they are emotionally distant and consumed with a sense of dread.

These blogs have been selected because they contain links and strategies specifically for people with PTSD in its various forms.

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A Brief History of Humor’s Power and Danger

An understanding of the power and concomitant danger of humor has never been as necessary as it is today. Humor was the impetus for the brutal slaying of 12 employees of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and for threats of violence from North Korea over the release of the U.S. comedy movie "The Interview," but these recent events are far from unique in humor’s complex history.

The fear of the weapon of humor was alive and well in Nazi Germany. The legal code of the time reflected Goebbels’s interpretation of the political joke as “a remnant of liberalism” that threatened the Nazi state. Not only was joke-telling made illegal, but those who told jokes were labeled “asocial” -- a segment of society frequently sent to concentration camps.
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Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Is there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

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OCD & Living Without False Hope

When one has a breakthrough in therapy or in life, one experiences a feeling of aliveness. As a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these moments have been few and far between over the course of my 33 years.

It is natural for human beings to want to give other human beings hope. I am not trashing exposure therapy and the therapeutic process. These things work for a lot of people with OCD.

You’ve probably heard that people with OCD get intrusive thoughts. A simple question is: How many intrusive thoughts go away with exposure therapy?

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Veterans Day 2013: Honoring Our Vets with Better Access to Mental Health Care

This Veterans Day, we honor the sacrifices made by our veterans, fighting for freedom and liberty not only for Americans, but for people everywhere.

It's not just the veterans themselves who face mental health issues -- such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or crippling anxiety -- but their families too. Families who have to cope not only with the great distances and not knowing if their soldier-husband or soldier-wife will ever return, but also with the possibly of having that person return broken. Lost. Something less-than.

And while the Veterans Administration has made great strides in providing better care for veterans in the past few years, it still has a long ways to go.

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What are Some of the Physiological Manifestations of PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a result of severe trauma. The trauma experienced is usually one that has threatened a person's safety. PTSD is seen in people returning from fighting in a war, or people who have been victims of violence or a natural disaster.

It’s normal to feel traumatized by significant life events such as surviving a severe car accident. It becomes pathological when the feelings of trauma, anxiety, panic, or sadness don’t fade with time. People who experience PTSD may feel like they are forever changed and suffer constant panic attacks, loss of sleep and social isolation.

Trauma and prolonged stress inevitably has a negative impact on overall health. PTSD has been linked to more physician visits in veteran populations.

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Why Military Homecomings can be Harder Than Goodbyes

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr Amy James.

You've seen the pictures of men and women of the military rushing off planes and buses to greet their spouses and children. The smiles, the tears, the hugs and the fanfare warm the heart and cause tears to flood the eyes.

But what happens after the cameras are put away? What happens after the homecoming festivities are over? Do things go back to pre-deployment state or are they forever changed?

As a clinical psychologist who served in the United States Air Force, and as the spouse of an active duty Marine, I can personally and professionally report that for many, the homecoming is harder than the goodbye.

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Men in Uniform and Women’s Psyches

My friend and I are always bonding over our love for guys in plaid shirts. I don’t know what it is, but the trademark print definitely induces a soft spot and brings smiles. Maybe it alludes to a down-to-earth persona, or an overall feeling of coziness?

In any case, that train of thought got us to thinking about the allure of certain attire and how it can influence impressions (whether we’re conscious of it or not).

A classic example is men in uniform, and since I’ve experienced Fleet Week in New York City, I can pretty much attest to this (rather universal) theory.

So what are the psychological implications of men in uniform?

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