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Amid growing alarm at the rate of suicide among members of the military and confusion about possible causes, researchers reported on Monday that most of the Army’s enlisted men and women with suicidal tendencies had them before they enlisted, and that those at highest risk of making an attempt often had a long history of impulsive anger.The new research — contained in three papers posted online Monday by the journal JAMA Psychiatry — found that about one in 10 soldiers qualified for a diagnosis of “intermittent explosive disorder,” as it is known to psychiatrists — more than five times the rate found in the general population. This impulsive pattern, in combination with mood disorders and the stresses of deployment, increased the likelihood of acting on suicidal urges.The new papers bring together five years of work by a coalition of academic, government and military researchers, investigating hundreds of suicides and surveying thousands of active soldiers in anonymous questionnaires.The effort began in 2008, after the suicide rate among active soldiers rose above the civilian rate among young healthy adults for the first time. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have relied on an all-volunteer Army, not a draft like previous wars, and many of today’s enlisted men and women have deployed two, three, sometimes four times.The new reports provide the first glimpse at how changes in the makeup of the fighting force and the increased demands of service have affected the suicide rate. The annual soldier suicide rate more than doubled between 2004 and 2009, to over 23 per 100,000. In that period, 569 soldier deaths were ruled suicides. Since then, the rate has begun to fall back toward 20 per 100,000, the civilian rate in the same age group.“This effort will do for suicide what the Framingham Heart Study did for cardiology, provide for the first time a way to look at multiple factors over a huge number of people,” said Dr. David Brent, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh who was not involved in the research. The results, he added, strongly suggest that “the baggage people bring with them and often don’t disclose in order to get into armed services presumably interacts with the stresses of deployment” to increase vulnerability to suicide.The three reports do not settle whether so-called accession waivers, which relax standards for new soldiers and which the Army has used to shore up its ranks, increased the force’s vulnerability to suicide. One study, an investigation of suicides and accidental deaths led by Michael Schoenbaum of the National Institute of Mental Health, found a host of risk factors many have suspected: demotions, a lower rank and previous deployment among them. But looser standards for enlistment were not correlated with increased suicides.Overall, the three reports sketch a portrait of suicide risk that in many respects is like the civilian one. About 14 percent of the surveyed soldiers said they had had suicidal thoughts, and 5 percent had made plans at least once to take their lives — mirroring the rates among civilian peers. About 2 percent had actually made an attempt. (The attempt rate for civilians is actually twice as high, but soldiers’ attempts are more often lethal.)
most of the Army’s enlisted men and women with suicidal tendencies had them before they enlisted, and that those at highest risk of making an attempt often had a long history of impulsive anger.
Not to go off the subject, but I think it's the same with drug addicts. That addictive trait was present before they even started taking drugs.