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Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« on: April 27, 2013, 10:42:41 PM »
By Denise Chow, LiveScience Staff Writer | LiveScience.com – 3 hrs ago


Patients who believe in God may experience better short-term treatment outcomes for psychiatric illness, according to a new study.

Individuals who described themselves as having strong faith reported having a better overall response to treatment, said David Rosmarin, a clinician and instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"We found that patients who had higher levels of belief in God had better treatment outcomes — better well-being, less depression and less anxiety," Rosmarin told LiveScience.

The researchers monitored 159 patients in the Behavioral Health Partial Hospital program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. The patients were receiving treatment for various psychiatric illnesses, including depression and anxiety, and their average length of stay in the program was two weeks, Rosmarin said.

The study results, however, can't necessarily prove any cause or effect; the researchers aren’t sure whether spirituality caused the treatment boost, some other factor played a role or if spiritual people, perhaps, are somehow healthier than others.

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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 10:43:20 PM »
Evaluating spiritual belief

Study participants were asked to rate their belief in God and their expectations for the effectiveness of treatment on a five-point scale. At the beginning and end of the program, the researchers evaluated each patients' well-being—defined by their levels of depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Patients who reported more than a "slight" belief in a higher power were twice as likely to respond to treatment, Rosmarin said.

In addition to experiencing better treatment outcomes, patients who believed in God were also more likely to expect therapeutic benefits from their time in the program.

"Belief in God can facilitate belief in treatment," Rosmarin said. "People who had more faith also had more faith in treatment. They thought it was credible and were optimistic about treatment. They believed it was going to help them."


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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 10:44:23 PM »
The impact of spirituality

When patients feel a sense of power outside their own lives — whether through religious beliefs or through connections with friends, family or even nature — it can boost their treatment outcomes, said Christina Puchalski, founder and executive director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health in Washington, D.C. Puchalski was not involved in the new study, but has done her own research on clinical strategies to address patients' spiritual concerns.

"If people are able to see something outside of themselves, they tend to do better in general, so that's not surprising," Puchalski said. "From my own clinical practice, I certainly see that if people are able to have some sense of transcendence, they often have better responses."

Part of what makes this a fascinating area of study is that spirituality can take so many different forms, which means it can have diverse implications for patient care, Puchalski explained.

"Spirituality can be broadly defined," she said. "It's not just religion, or a belief in a higher power. The ability to connect to something outside of oneself — things like hope and being hopeful, or having a sense of coherence — it's all part of spirituality."

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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 10:45:12 PM »
Clinical applications

Although the new study did not specifically look at links between specific spiritual belief, types of psychiatric illnesses and reported treatment outcomes for that particular illness, Rosmarin said the findings indicate that faith plays an important role in therapy.

However, a lot more research is needed, he added.

"It's embarrassing that there's such a disparity between what we know about patient spirituality, and how to handle it," Rosmarin said. "It's an area that's relevant to us as a people, but we have no clue what to do about it."

With a clearer understanding of the impact of spirituality on treatment, doctors can develop better treatments that meet their patients' needs.

"When I speak to audiences, the clinicians are at the edge of their seats," Rosmarin said. "Studies like this equip us health care professionals with practical guidance on how to address patient spirituality and treatment. Our whole program of research is clinically focused. We want to know how this is going to make a difference in patients' lives."

The results of the study were published Thursday (April 25) in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 11:18:17 PM »
Religion has a very profound effect on the human body because it has the ability to influence relaxation responses, health behaviors, social support, coherence, and meaningfulness. There has been research that shows religion can influence health through psychobiological interpretation, through the superempirical interpretation. Religious practice not only can increase the spiritual health of the practitioner, but also the physical wellbeing. An example of this would be Hindus who exercise vis-à-vis Yoga techniques, which teaches breathing techniques, stretching of the muscles and also prayer and mantra that supposedly touches the divine (Grabara and Szopa, 2011).  In a research study conducted by Abdel-Khalek and Naceur (2007), a sample of 224 muslim college students from Algeria were recruited and the students were required to respond to five self-rating scales to assess religiosity, physical health, mental health, happiness and satisfaction with life. In the research, it showed that religiosity was higher among women than men. Religious activity was correlated with high physical health, mental health, happiness, satisfaction with life and optimism (Abdel-Khalek and Naceur, 2007).


Religious exercise not only influences relaxation response, health behaviors, social support, coherence and meaningfulness, but also provides a metaphysical explanation, a comforting that reminds those who practice a particular religion that one’s life does not end with one’s death. In this context, religion has an existentialist role, one that has been consistent with all human civilizations. If we look at the civilizations around the world, be they Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Aztec Indian, Incan Indian, Celtic, Mongol etc, religion played a role in each civilization and a concept of an afterlife was a common theme. This concept of an afterlife provides a spiritual , mental support, which manifests itself into physical experiences. In a research study by Lowis, Edwards and Burton (2009), individuals who were nursing home residents experience a sense of relief in practicing a religious faith because of an assurance in one’s salvation for the next life. The activity of these residents not only influenced the individual’s life, but those around them, and provided a sense of community for all (Lowis et al, 2009).


Religion and religious practice has shaped culture, politics, and social standing throughout the world  (Religion, Culture, History, 2013). One can see that religious exercise has a microscopic effect, referring to the personal effect practice has on the human individual, but also has a macro effect in how religion shapes the policies of nations, regions of the world, and interaction of different peoples.


Reference:

RELIGION, CULTURE, HISTORY A Philosophical Study of Religion. (2013). Kirkus Reviews, 81(4), 36.

Grabara, M., & Szopa, J. (2011). HEALTH BENEFITS OF DOING PHYSICAL EXERCISES YOGA REPORTED BY THE STUDENTS OF THE ACADEMY OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN KATOWICE. Polish Journal Of Sports Medicine / Medycyna Sportowa, 27(2), 123-131.


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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 12:35:46 AM »
i'll take this hands down.  i know of those who have lost their minds and started to believe they are god.
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Re: Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 08:16:52 AM »

Bwahaha! Im reminded of the doddered mental patient joke:

Patient A: I am Napoleon!
Patient B: How do you know?
Patient A: God told me.
Patient C: I most certainly did not!

;D




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