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Believe it or not, until Purdue University psychologist Daniel Mroczek tackled the question, no had delved into why people who freak out easily die earlier than mellow folks.
Experts have long known that stressed, neurotic folks kick the bucket earlier. But they werenâ??t certain why. Mroczekâ??s research shows worriers tend to smoke, which leads to the cancer and other related maladies that cause death.
Worriers also drink more than the average person, but Mroczek found no ties to early death resulting from alcohol.
Mroczek (rhymes with Prozac) doesnâ??t know whether neurotics take up smoking to calm their nerves, but the â??self-medicationâ?? nevertheless does just that, at least until they end up in a doctorâ??s office and get bad news.
Just about everyone is at least somewhat neurotic, he says. At one end of the spectrum are people who are cool and collected under pressure, while at the other end are the hyper-vigilant who get jittery about anything.
The future of health care research will be driven by digging deeper into the psychological woes that give rise to cancer, heart disease and other killers, Mroczek says.