The AP has reported that a new Army mental health study says soldiers in Afghanistan have been suffering from an increase in depression in correlation with an increase in violence. It’s interesting that the focus is turning to Afghanistan now that violence has decreased in Iraq.
“The annual battlefield study found once again that soldiers on their third and fourth tours of duty had sharply greater rates of mental health problems than those on their first or second deployments, according to several officials familiar with the report.”
It seems that the more soldiers are exposed to combat, the higher the risk of depression and other mental health illnesses. A 2004 study indicates that about one in 10 soldiers have a serious mental health illlness that requires treatment. The AP article mainly focuses on depression but also mentions the rates of anxiety and PTSD are similar to the rates found in soldiers in Iraq last year. Thankfully, the number of troops who sought treatment has decreased to 29 percent from 34 percent in 2006.
On a happy note (pun intended), a study published in Psychological Science has discovered that happiness can be genetic. Researchers studied about 1,000 identical and fraternal twins and found that their genes control about half of the traits that make people happy. The other half is control by circumstances.
“People who are sociable, active, stable, hardworking and conscientious tend to be happier, the researchers reported in the journal Psychological Science.
People with positive inherited personality traits may, in effect, also have a reserve of happiness to draw on in stressful times, [Tim Bates, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who led the study] said.
“An important implication is that personality traits of being outgoing, calm and reliable provide a resource, we called it ‘affective reserve,’ that drives future happiness” Bates said.”
Basically, if you have none of those traits, you’ll just have to suffer through unhappiness like the rest of us. [sarcasm]
Finally, for those of you married men out there, here’s a tip to be a happier husband: Do more around the house, get more sex. ‘Nuff said.
(Image from Jupiter Images)