Glossary

Acute Distress/Stress Reaction
When a person perceives an event to be a threat to their physical, psychological and emotional well-being and has an intense negative reaction to it. The reaction may be emotional, psychological, behavioral, physical or a combination.
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders have multiple physical and psychological symptoms, and they all have in common feelings of apprehension, tension, or uneasiness. The anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Combat and operational stress
The expected and predictable emotional, intellectual, physical, and/or behavioral reactions of Service members who have been exposed to stressful events in combat or noncombat military operations. Combat stress reactions vary in quality and severity as a function of operational conditions, such as intensity, duration, rules of engagement, leadership, effective communication, unit morale, unit cohesion, and perceived importance of the mission.
Combat and operational stress control
Leader actions and responsibilities to promote resilience and psychological health in military units and individuals, including families, exposed to the stress of combat or other military operations. Also called COSC.
Combat and operational stress first aid
A set of tools with three simple aims: (1) preserve life, (2) prevent further harm, and (3) promote recovery. Combat and operational stress first aid components include the "seven Cs": check, coordinate, cover, calm, connect, competence, and confidence.
Combat stress
Changes in physical or mental functioning or behavior resulting from the experience or lethal force or its aftermath. These changes can be positive and adaptive or they can be negative, including distress or loss of normal functioning.
Commander Directed Evaluation (CDE)
A clinical assessment of a Sailor for a mental, physical, or personality disorder. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine a member’s clinical mental health status and/or fitness and/or suitability for service. The mental health evaluation will consist of a clinical interview, mental status examination, as well as a review of medical records, a review of other records, and information forwarded by the member’s commanding officer.It may also involve psychological testing, physical examination, and laboratory and/or other specialized testing. Interviews conducted by the Family Advocacy Program or Substance Abuse Rehabilitation program personnel are not considered CDEs, although Commanding Officers may refer a Sailor to these programs for evaluation.
Coping
Coping refers to an individual’s personal resources for managing the internal and external demands in his or her life. Positive coping skills are fostered by prior successful experiences in managing stressful life events. Skills for coping can also be learned through classes, counseling, training, life experiences or reading materials available from base helping agencies.
Counseling
Counseling or "talking therapy" involves a trained mental health professional assisting a Sailor in resolving problems or making a change. Counseling can be with individuals, couples or groups. It can be helpful for a number of concerns such as stress symptoms, poor sleep, nervousness, tension headaches, relationship difficulties, work problems, depression and anxiety disorders.
Crisis
An acute emotional state arising from upsetting and/or difficult life situations that results in a temporary inability to cope. A crisis is usually perceived by an individual in danger. A crisis may also serve as an opportunity for growth, learning, expanding and improving coping skills.
Depression
A state of low mood that is described differently by people who experience it. Commonly described are feelings of sadness, despair, emptiness, or loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all things. Depression can also be experienced along with other disorders such as bipolar disorders (manic-depressive disorder).
Emergency
A situation in which a Sailor is threatening, by words or actions, to harm himself, herself, or others; threatening to destroy property under circumstances likely to lead to serious personal injury or harm. In such situations, delaying mental health evaluation to complete administrative requirements in accordance with DoD Directive 6490.1 or DoD Instruction 6490.4 could further endanger the Sailor’s life or well-being, or the well-being of others and potential victims.
Hallucinations
Perceptions of sounds, visual objects, smells, or sensations that are not really present. Hallucinations may occur after ingestion of certain drugs, during withdrawal from alcohol, or as a symptom of a physical or mental illness.
Impulse Control
Difficulty controlling one’s behaviors. Impulse control may be impacted by emotional distress, sleep deprivation, drugs or alcohol. Examples of poor impulse control include throwing objects, binge drinking, cursing/yelling at a superior or inflicting self-harm such as intentional property damage or attempting suicide.
Mental health
The absence of significant distress or impairment due to mental illness. Mental health is a prerequisite for psychological health. Also called MH.
Mental Health Services
Diagnostic, treatment, and preventive care that helps improve how persons with psychological and psychiatric problems feel both physically and emotionally as well as how they interact with others. These services also help persons who have a strong risk of developing a mental illness.
Operational stress
Changes in physical or mental functioning or behavior resulting from the experience or consequences of military operations other than combat, during peacetime or war, and on land, at sea, or in the air.
Operational stress control
Leader actions and responsibilities to promote resilience and psychological health in military units and individuals, including family members, exposed to the stress of routine or wartime military operations in noncombat environments. Also called OSC.
Personality Disorder
Individuals with personality disorders exhibit persistent long standing problem behaviors that usually lead to difficulties with daily functioning and in relationships with others. People with these problems are sometimes less likely to seek help than individuals with acute problems, such as depression or anxiety. Those who do seek help often require long-term treatment. Mental health treatment can often help with specific behavior changes and may improve stability. However, those with severe personality disorders are likely to continue to experience serious problems in living, working, getting along with others and with serving in the Navy.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that may develop when a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as actual or threatened death (e.g., combat), serious injury, or sexual assault. Symptoms include intense fear, distressing memories or dreams of the event, rapid heart-beat, sweating, nausea and mild confusion when reminded of the event, and efforts to avoid cues associated with the event. It is normal for the survivor of traumatic events to have painful memories; to have anxiety (perhaps with jumpiness or being on guard); feel guilty (over surviving or for real acts of omission or commission); and to have unpleasant dreams. With PTSD, symptoms can be persistent and debilitating. PTSD can occur even if the individual showed no acute stress behaviors at the time of the trauma.
Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists are physicians who have specialized training in the management of behavioral and mental health disorders. In addition to providing therapy, Psychiatrists prescribe medication. Psychiatrists also play a key role in specialized evaluations of personnel including Medical Evaluation Boards (MEBs).
Psychological First Aid
Psychological support and assistance provided in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. Also called PFA.
Psychological Health
Wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Also called PH.
Psychologists
Psychologists are doctoral-level mental health providers who specialize in the management of behavioral and mental health disorders. They apply psychological and behavioral principles to life problems to help individuals find more effective ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.Psychologists are trained to use standardized assessment and testing instruments to measure various moods, behavior, "personality styles," and intelligence levels.They provide individual, couples and group therapy.
Resilience
The process of preparing for, recovering from, and adjusting to life in the face of stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy.
Risk Taking Thoughts And Behavior
While not necessarily suicide-related, these are ideas and actions for which there is a high likelihood of injury or death. Examples include engaging in reckless sports, undertaking dangerous activities, and driving after consuming alcohol.
Special psychiatric rapid intervention team
A multidisciplinary Navy team that provides intervention in maritime mishaps, stability and contingency operations, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. The teams consist of two psychiatrists, two clinical psychologists, one chaplain, one psychiatric nurse, and four hospital corpsmen psychiatric technicians. Also called SPRINT.
Stress illness
A diagnosable mental disorder resulting from an unhealed stress injury that worsens over time to cause significant disability in one or more spheres of life.
Stress injury
More severe and persistent distress or loss of functioning caused by disruptions to the integrity of the brain, mind, or spirit after exposure to overwhelming stressors. Stress injuries are invisible but literal wounds caused by stress, but like more visible physical wounds, they usually heal, especially if given proper care.
Stressor
Any mental or physical challenge or set of challenges.
Stress reaction
The common, temporary, and often necessary experience of mild distress or changes in functioning due to stress from any cause.
Social Workers
Social Workers have a Master's Degree (or perhaps a Ph.D). and are licensed to provide a wide variety of services to include individual, group, family, and child therapy. In the Navy, Social workers manage Family Advocacy Programs, work in MTFs and at Fleet and Family Support Centers.
Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is defined as the illegal, wrongful, or improper use, possession, transfer or introduction onto a military base of any drug. This includes improper use of prescription medications, anabolic and androgenic steroids, and any intoxicating substances, including alcohol, that are inhaled, inserted, consumed or introduced into the body for purposes of altering mood or function.
Suicidal Threat
Any interpersonal action, verbal or non-verbal, indicating a desire to bring about one’s own death, but stopping short of a directly self-harmful act. Suicidal threats are considered serious.
Suicidal Ideation
Thoughts a person has of harming him or herself. A person may or may not act on these thoughts. Suicidal ideation is a risk factor for suicide.
Threat
A statement or act intended to inflict harm or injury on any person, or on his or her property. Threats also include words or actions intended to intimidate another person or to interfere with the performance of his or her official duties.
Veiled Threats
When Sailors and others make comments perceived as indirect threats. Examples are, "I know where you live," or "You never know what can happen to you."
Withdrawal
When a person detaches him or herself from social supports such as friends and family. This may occur as a response to life challenges.

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