Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The DSTRESS LINE for Marines--free anonymous counseling by phone or online chat and Related Resources

The DSTRESS Line provides professional, anonymous counseling for Marines, their corpsmen, and their families.  It is a free call or free online chat. 

"Marines want to talk with someone who understands them as a Marine. The DSTRESS Line provides Marines, attached Sailors, and family members with a place to call and speak with 'one of their own.' It is a place to call and talk about problems before they turn into a crisis.

The DSTRESS Line helps callers increase resilience and develop the necessary skills required to cope with the widely varying challenges of life in the Corps and the inevitable stress of combat operations."

See their website for more details.

More Resources for Readjustment to Living State-side and More Counseling Services
There is also free online and phone counseling through:
Military OneSource
TriWest Online Free Counseling--see video

TRICARE Region North
TRICARE Region South
Defense Centers of Excellence Outreach Center
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Military Stress Recovery Project Clinics--free or low-cost acupuncture for veterans and their families.  Find a clinic near you on the Acupuncturists without Borders (AWB) website (listed by state).
Take the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory anonymously.  [Inventory created by the American Psychological Association (APA)]
Information via online Short Video/Movie
video:  Dr. Mike Colson of the VA and re-adjustments issues for returning warriors, some resources through TriWest.
video:  GWOT = "Global War on Terrorism Veteran" with Dr. Mike Colson of the VA and some resources through TriWest.  He talks about some readjustment issues that are common to be aware of when you are just returning State-side.
video:  Symptoms of Combat Stress with Dr. Maguire of the VA
video:  Common Questions with Dr. Mike Colson.

Megan's Notes on Symptoms of Combat Stress vs. PTSD
Combat Stress or operational theater stress or deployment stress is not PTSD.  Combat Stress is a normal body and mind reaction to shock and stressful situations and human experiences that are common in war zones.  PTSD is a diagnosis given by a psychologist or psychiatrist when symptoms of combat stress have not improved over a long period of time (more than 1 year).  Proper and early treatment of combat stress prevents the development of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in most cases.

Symptoms of combat stress include (not all possible symptoms listed):  insomnia (poor sleep, waking feeling not rested, waking throughout night, waking at the same time every night, etc), unexplained anger and/or frustration, anxiety, mild depression, racing thoughts, reliving dreams or stressful memories (also called flashbacks), headaches, and/or body pain.  Some people have more than one symptom and some have just one symptom.  It is a problem if your symptoms impact your daily life and routine.  Check out the post-traumatic experience growth inventory by the APA.

Copyright Megan Kingsley Gale
Stress-Relief Acupuncture as practiced through De-Stress Vets and other Military Stress Recovery Project Clinics helps relieve these symptoms through the use of tiny needles (as thin or thinner than a strand of hair) in special points in the ear (called auricular acupuncture).  So, acupuncture is a good complement to your conventional treatment and/or counseling (with mental health therapist or chaplain).  When someone is experiencing traumatic stress or combat stress, their body-mind is stuck in state called "sympathetic nervous system overload".  It is the autonomic nervous system's job to fluctuate from "fight or flight" (sympathetic response) to "rest and digest" (parasympathetic mode) in a balanced, healthy way.  Stress-Relief Acupuncture works by reminding the body's autonomic nervous system how to reset from "fight or flight" to "rest and digest".  Our bodies have their own wisdom to heal; modalities/medicines such as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine help our bodies remember how to be in balance and not in "dis-stress" or "dis-ease" states.

If you are a medic or corpsmen or other deploy-able medical personnel and interested in taking a course from De-Stress Vets, check out the website for information on "Acu-tack for Stress Relief©" and "Acu-tack for Pain Relief©" or send an email with "requesting info on Acutack courses" in the subject line to

See related posts in this blog such as Managing Traumatic Stress, Resilience in a Time of War The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, the FOCUS and FOCUS for Couples programs, Female Soldiers and their Wounds of War, and "What is the Training Level of My Acupuncturist?".

©Acutack courses copyright held by Megan Kingsley Gale, 2011.

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