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Featured Religion and mental health

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Epic Beard Man, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    Read an interesting research article concerning religion and its influences on mental health from the Indian (that is Indian from the country of India) perspective. According to the article, religious beliefs and practices often contribute to the development of some psychiatric disorders in regards to maladaptive behaviors like obsessions, anxiety and depression. Citing Freud, he believed that there was a similarity between obsessive behavioral patterns and religious practices in their fixed character which can potentially lead to anxiety if a specific action is not properly performed. An example is Dhat syndrome, which is a condition where males report of having premature ejaculation or impotence where they believe they are passing semen through urine. According to the research article:

    "An average Hindu grows in an environment where sex outside marriage is identical to sin. The guilt is overpowering and becomes an integral part of his psychological development. We see the repercussion in the form of sexual hypochondriasis. Sexual hypochondriasis Dhat (WIG 1958) is common in India. There is multiple neurasthenic symptoms associated with passage of semen in urine. It occurs in young Indian males. A history of masturbation and night emissions are present."

    I thought this brought an interesting dynamic to the discussion of the influences of religion when it comes to mental health. Although several studies have shown that religion plays an important part in the daily function of people, it can also serve as a catalyst for psychiatric disorders. The full research article could be looked at here:Religion and mental health

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Link?

    Nothing surprising. Suppressing or condemning natural drives can be pretty stressful. Hasn't the homosexuality tabu in Abrahamic religion led to misery and even suicide?
     
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  3. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    How does that tie-in to this Gallup survey that shows the more religious a person is, the more likely they are to be happy?

    [​IMG]
    Source
     
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  4. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Religion can be the opiate of the people. A shared belief system can be very pro social.
    As long as you believe blindly and avoid critical analysis and the accompanying cognitive dissonance, it's all happy happy -- and pie in the sky when you die.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Psychiatry and religion are uneasy bedfellows. Physicians such as Freud and Charcot were very anti-religion and so there has been somewhat of a divorce between the institutions of religion and psychiatry from early on in the twentieth century. Dr Harold Keong in recent times has been a champion for doing research that positively associates mental health, spirituality and religion.

    The concern in my city is our struggling health boards under pressure to perform financially. Mental health is often looked as a priority, unless someone with a psychotic illness ends up killing another. Usually its suicide instead of homicide so the same old platitudes and no real incentive to understand the underlying issues that no one can agree on anyhow. Unfortunately there's just not enough staff, beds or supported accomodation for those who need it.

    Hows the spiritual well being of your health system when it comes to mental health? The culture here in psychiatry has been sick for a very long time. We certainly don't have a model of care that incorporates the spiritual reality of our patients' lives.
     
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  6. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    If I understand you correctly, religion supresses and condemns the natural drive which is why Abrahamic religions lead to misery and even suicide. They are also the opiate of the people and pro-social which is why they're all happy.
    :handpointup:
     
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  7. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it can kind of be both. Not necessarily for the same individuals or sects, of course, but I don't think there's any doubt that religion can produce both misery and happiness.
     
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  8. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    So can bubble gum. But I don't think we can establish a link by looking at an individual scale. I'm under the impression that that's not how surveys work.
     
  9. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Religion can produce solidarity and co-operation, or war and strife -- sometimes both. It can control anti-social behavior where coercive authority is weak. It can act as a tranquilizer or lead to cognitive dissonance and neurosis if one thinks about it too deeply.

    A lot, I think, depends on how you use it; what you think its purpose is.
     
  10. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    It's a fair point, studies that tend to show links between x and y don't tend to indicate what the link may be or to go so far as to demonstrate the nature of the relationship is causal. I think the proposed links could use more research.
     
  11. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    This reads like an interpretation based on a preconceived bias about religions in general. Do you have a study linking depth of religious thinking with neurosis or feelings of dissonance in the general population? Controlled anti-social behaviors with weak authority in religion in a statistically significant way? Anything with causation?
    Another interpretation could be that religion can moderately mitigate over time those with a genetic or environmental tendency towards anti-social behaviors by requiring it's adherent to participate in communal activities in a positive fashion. It can lessen those predisposed to neurosis or dissonance when one deeply contemplates and adheres to them. Maybe the remedial effects of religion are simply not enough for those whose predisposition towards war and strife are too high.

    Maybe Indian religions don't provide as positive a framework for ameliorating or preventing guilty feelings in it's adherents, as other religions and the problem is that specific religion in particular, not religions as a whole. We need comparative studies. We need analysis of actual relationships between people and their religions.

    We need facts man, not interpretations.
     
  12. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    That's all I'm trying to say.
     
  13. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    I'm inclined to agree with you. In fact, I'd urge you to have a look at the study in the OP, as it does a good job of being quite even-handed and not drawing unjustified connections. The conclusion seems to be less about a potential connection between religion and mental illness and more about the inclusion and acknowledgement of religion in an individual assessment of overall mental wellbeing (both positive and negative), and how taking it into account may offer us further insight into the nature of belief and its impact:

    "Ideas about the relationship between religiousness and mental health have changed over the past few centuries. During much of the 20th century, mental health professionals tended to deny the religious aspects of human life and often considered this dimension as either old-fashioned or pathological, predicting that it would disappear as mankind matured and developed. However, hundreds of epidemiological studies performed during the last decades have shown a different picture. Religiousness remains an important aspect of human life and it usually has a positive association with good mental health. Even though most studies have been conducted in the United States in Christian populations, in the last few years several of the main findings have been replicated in samples from different countries and religions. Two lines of investigation that need to be expanded are cross-cultural studies and application of these findings to clinical practice in different areas of the world.[3]

    "Considering that religiousness is frequent and has associations with mental health, it should be considered in research and clinical practice. The clinician who truly wishes to consider the bio-psycho-social aspects of a patient needs to assess, understand, and respect his/her religious beliefs, like any other psychosocial dimension. Increasing our knowledge of the religious aspect of human beings will increase our capacity to honor our duty as mental health providers and/or scientists in relieving suffering and helping people to live more fulfilling lives.[
    3]

    "Religious methods have often been used to treat the mentally ill. Initially, the priest was the most important counselor because he had the authority of religion along with psychological expertise. Faith and belief systems are very important constituents of psychological well-being and could be fruitfully utilized in psychotherapy. Their usage must be carefully evaluated. Hence, psychiatrists need to study religion vis-a-vis mental health more carefully as it is likely to increase the efficiency and acceptability of psychiatry to the masses. Finally, religion has a great influence in psychiatry including symptoms, phenomenology, and outcome.[
    1]"
     
    #13 ImmortalFlame, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  14. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    Link is in OP its a blue font underlined.
     
  15. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    You misunderstand. The Quran doesn't supress or condemn the natural drive. Don't know about the bible.
     
  16. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Of the two of us, I'm pretty sure that you're the one who is misunderstanding.
     
  17. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    How so?
     
  18. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    If you follow the flow of the conversation, you might realize that I wasn't saying my own opinion about religion, I was summarizing the quoted poster's two posts in order to express the contradiction between them.
     
  19. DanielR

    DanielR Active Member

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    Religion is very important imho because it prevents people from falling into Nihilism and possible suicide. Check out Ernest Becker's book if you haven't.
     
  20. wellwisher

    wellwisher Active Member

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    This is a two part problem. Suppressing natural drives is one thing. Suppressing natural drives in a secular society, where over indulgence is the norm, creates a double edged suppression problem; instinct and ego.

    Consider the example of going on a diet to lose weight; suppress appetite. It is one thing to do this while being surrounded by people who instinctively eat the correct amount. It is another thing to do this while being surrounded by people who are gluttons. The suppression of instinct is the same in both cases, since the brain's instinctive set point is, internal. The relative choice of the ego is different in each case, since that is outside and arbitrary to culture; level of peer pressure.

    It was not uncommon in USA, for many men and women to be virgins at marriage up to about the 1950's. Once the free sex of the 1960's was online, the choice to remain a virgin became much more difficult, in culture, especially with psychology and culture teaching unnatural behavior, as natural, that would end up creating a lot of disease, infidelity and abortion.

    Over indulgence of instinct is also unnatural. The pendulum of suppression has two sides; too little or too much. The wide scale generation of STD's tells us that psychology has created a different suppression of natural instinct. This is why it is called soft science; superficial science. The new unnatural was good for business. Who would complain about too much?

    In Sweden where transsexuality is accepted, there is still a high rate of suicide for those who had the operation and hormone therapies. The operation and social acceptance indulges the ego, but since this is still unnatural, it still causes problems. A social taboo may hurt the ego, but it protects natural instinct. Balance needs to be achieved.
     
    #20 wellwisher, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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