Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Are the results controlled for stupidity? 
When you're standing in ranks, look at the soldier or marine to you're right. Now look at the one to the left. Now look at the guy in front of you. If none of them are crazy, statistically, it means you're the nutcase. At least according to researchers in (ahem) San Francisco.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - High rates of mental health disorders are being diagnosed among US military personnel soon after being released from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to investigators in San Francisco.

They estimate that out of 103,788 returning veterans, 25 percent had a mental health diagnosis, and more than half of these patients had two or more distinct conditions.

Those most at risk were the youngest soldiers and those with the most combat exposure, Dr. Karen H. Seal at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and associates report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Seal's group based their findings on records of US veterans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan who were seen at VA health care facilities between September 2001 and September 2005.

Yes. Because those veterans who self-select to receive treatment for medical problems at VA health centers (including mental health treatment programs) are, like, an absolutely totally 100% representative sample.

Or something.

We're nuts. But not THAT nuts.

Splash, out


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A lot of people I know (none in the military) say "You'd have to be crazy to join the Army," so if 25% of soldiers think they have a mental health problem, then the other 75% are in denial.
Where the psycho-industrial complex is concerned, you should probably take results like this with a grain of salt. Psychiatric professionals have a long history of hostility toward the military - ever read "The Caine Mutiny?" There's a great scene during the court-martial where the defense attorney basically gets the Freudian psychiatrist who examined Captain Queeg to blurt out the admission that he thinks most career military men are, in Freudian terms, sick.

And that was written in 1952.

I'm sure Vietnam and the subsequent decades haven't made it much better. If the process of leftism leaching into the thought processes that caused the military to steer promising officers away from grad school in the Nineties operates in the psychiatric sciences, you can believe that predisopsitions probably affect these diagnoses.
The abstract of the study this reuters article is based on is here. (Not very revealing, though.)

I wonder if the mistake of transposing the statistics from the unrepresentative VA polulation to the general soldier population was done by the study authors or by some knucklehead journalist.

Best Regards,
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