Relationship Topics

Sign up for the Spouse & Family Newsletter

Most Popular Relationships Articles

Vicki: Is There a Natural Cure for Combat Stress?

Ms. Vicki

Ms. Vicki,

My son who is 26-years-old just finished his tour with the Army in March. Lately, he said he can’t sleep and his mind won’t turn off remembering his tour in Afghanistan.

Do you know of any natural remedies to help him? He is not one for taking medications, especially ones that alter you in any way.

-- Sleepless and Racing Mind

Dear Sleepless,

It would be normal for your son to have memories of his deployment in Afghanistan. Moreover, it can take a while to reintegrate where you are sleeping, eating and even socializing with others as you were pre-deployment. We have to keep in mind that some service members may never return to a pre-deployment state.

However, it’s not good that your son is not sleeping at all and experiencing racing thoughts. Sleeplessness can be a precursor to other conditions or illnesses because his body is not recovering as it should.

I can understand that your son doesn’t want to take prescribed medications. He has probably heard someone else complain about the side effects of the medication. I encourage service members who are on meds to stay in close contact with their doctors and report all side effects.

There are some doctors who practice natural remedies, too. Please allow me to stay in my lane while I give you some advice. While I’m not a medical doctor I stay abreast of medications my clients are taking. They are having good outcomes managing PTSD symptoms, depression, and combat stress related reactions with medication and therapy.

It must be very tiring for your son if his mind is continually racing. He really needs to get professional help. He should check the availability of treatment with behavioral health on his base. Most behavioral health offices have walk-in hours, too.

He should discuss his symptoms with a provider. Another option that he should take advantage of is Defense Center of Excellence (DCOE) 24/7 Outreach Center. He can speak to a pprofessional health resource consultants with expertise in psychological health and traumatic brain injury. He would be speaking to someone who knows military culture. The services are free. It would be a great place for him to start. He can call (866) 966-1020. He can speak to them by phone or through an online chat.

I wish your son the best. I know you are concerned about him. If I can help you further please write me again.

-- Ms. Vicki

Related Topics

Ask Ms. Vicki Family and Spouse PTSD

Military News App by

Download the new News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!


Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.