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Old 01-21-2013, 10:13 AM
 
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
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I thought about starting a thread on this topic after reading the one about atheists and higher IQs. I have noticed that the vast majority of individuals who seem to pass through our system with psych diagnosis are almost always very religious. The question arises, does a religious personailty breed mental illness, or do mentally ill people seek religion as a panacea from their symptoms?

According to a survey and study published in Psychiatry Investigation,( Psychiatry Investig. 2012 March; 9(1): 2935.) out of South Korea, the psychiatrists conducting this particular study suggest that mentally ill people will seek religion as a cure for depression and anxiety. Also noted in this study is the alcoholic element, which seems to decrease with strong religious involvement, but this could be that one addiction is substituted for another (as in alcoholism for religious addiction).
The study also reported however that religious involvement INCREASES depressive and anxiety disorders, which is consistant with patients that I have observed.

So do atheists tend to be free of mental disorders? Not neccesarily, but atheists will not run to a church orr religious group which will further enhance or aggrevate the disorder. Instead, atheists may be more likely to seek a cure from traditional medicine. I would like to see more on this. Brenden Murphy suggests some reasons WHY atheists handle problems better than religious people and some of that is available in this link. https://www.secularstudents.org/site...20murphy_0.pdf
The person writing this is not a psychiatrist, he is an Atheist but his facts are more or less accurate.

I also learned during an internship (observing chronic schizophrenics at the state hospital) that there is a social element to the delusions exhibited by theses patients. Virtually all had some sort of religious delusion. However, one psychologist pointed out that being in the Bible belt, this was a social phenomenon rather than a psychiatric one. As he pointed out, during his own internship in Washington DC, the same diagnosed patients presented with no religious delusions but frequent political delusions (ie claiming to be the president, a congressman, head of the CIA etc).
It indictes that schizophrenics will feed off of cultural norms, and I have observed here in FLorida a near 100% correlation between diagnosed schizophrenics and church involvement.

Now how does this add up ?

I'll skip rehashing my own proof and research of how Christianity is based on the ramblings of a mentally ill individual, which is one of the problems with religion in general.

Instead, I will look to a mental health model as defined by Maslow's humanistic example, Maslows self-actualization, because this model is unique in that it indicates optimal mental health and does not seek to exacerbate ofr mask symptoms like religious philosophies do...refer here
Characteristics of a Self-Actualizing Person

Now I have never ever met a Christian person, especially a conservative, fundy or evangelical, who fits into this scale. I have met many who CLAIM to, but in practice and observation, I have never ever met a single one anywhere in any setting that meets the ideals of self-actualization. I have met many Buddhists however that do, many atheists, a few generally non rleigious "believers" (ie spiritual not religious)
Point is Self_actualization IS optimal hental health, and it does not exist so far as I can see in traditional American Christian movements.
SO when we look at Casual Atheism, we are looking at something Non-Christian and seeing and measuring Mentally Healthy People. THis would not include anti-social personality types which can exist in any movement, but the basic run of the mill atheist will tend to be healthier because their mind is not cluttered with unhealthy religious ideals which are detrimental to the attainment of self-actualization.

Your Thoughts Please?
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Deep Dirty South
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I have worked in social services off and on for decades, primarily working with the developmentally disabled and individuals with mental health issues.

It is true, in my experience and the experience of my colleagues with whom I've discussed this, that the majority of people with whom we've worked who have had mental health issues or severe psychological problems/diagnoses are nearly obsessive with regards to religion.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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Geschwind syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also, schizophrenics often have hyper-religiosity. (wife's a psychologist and sees this all the time) It's not a bible belt thing either. It happens just as often in CA as Mississippi.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Yuma, Az
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I can sort of see where someone who has mental or emotional problems could try to find the answers in religion. So personally, I would not think that religion triggers problems, generally speaking, but is more the refuge for them. I'm basing this on the notion that I can see someone who is emotionally distraught trying to find comfort through speaking with a minister or priest. It is kind of society's long-established low cost therapy for mental and emotional issues.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KatieGal View Post
I can sort of see where someone who has mental or emotional problems could try to find the answers in religion. So personally, I would not think that religion triggers problems, generally speaking, but is more the refuge for them. I'm basing this on the notion that I can see someone who is emotionally distraught trying to find comfort through speaking with a minister or priest. It is kind of society's long-established low cost therapy for mental and emotional issues.
Yes, but as I linked to in my post: some mental illnesses can actually be the cause for someone to incorporate religion/god/jesus into their core being... sometimes so much that they can't even talk about much else. I've come across some homeless people like this and my wife deals with a few in her practice. This can even happen to someone who was never particularly religious before. A significant percentage of schizophrenics are like this... more so than the general population anyway.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:09 PM
 
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
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Good Link and thanks logline
I have noticed that we have a number of schizophrenics who also have a Dx of seizure disorder as well.

I am of the belief that CHristianity is an unhealthy belief system, and anyone who buys into with the same hyper-religiousity or zeal that we arre seeing in these cases cannot become a healthy or self-actualized person due to the core teachings and beliefs of that religion.

Katie is correct too, many people naturally turn to religion when they have symptoms of depression, anxiety, even addicitons. the first study I mentioned demmonstrates this.

CHristianity however may well be incompatable with attaining self-actualization (optimal mental health). This is because self-actualization includes acceptance, self-empowerment ,seeing the means to the ends and differentiating between good and evil as such (not as defined by others)
Christianity, teaching that humans were once perfect and now flawed(which we know scientifically is not true) and that man by his nature cannot help himself(which we can demonstrate through this whole process to be another ecclesiastical error) indicates that the two may not be compatable. If so, consider that the founder, the characterr of Paul in the Bible, WAS suffering from mental illness, and I reiterate that I have NEVER, ever once encountered a "self-actualized" Christian. If there are any out there, I want to see one as proof.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:27 PM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,534,220 times
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Originally Posted by LargeKingCat View Post
Also noted in this study is the alcoholic element, which seems to decrease with strong religious involvement, but this could be that one addiction is substituted for another (as in alcoholism for religious addiction).
I will have to look at that journal article and mull it over.

In the meantime, I can say this, even if it's just anecdotal: I have a lot of born-again Christian cousins, and nearly all of them were once addicts or substance abusers. The stronger or worse the substance abuse, the more fervent they are in their beliefs. Those who were not addicted and just ran with a rough crowd, boozed it up a bit, and smoked some weed aren't that strident. But the alcoholics and the ones who became addicted are much more rigid and in-your-face. It's almost linear, with the one who was a heroin addict being the leader of the pack.

As I said, this is anecdotal, but it's funny that you mention "religious addiction" because everyone else in my family passed comments to that effect. "It's like he switched one addiction for another." The ex-heroin addict even said himself that he was "high on Jesus."
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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i had no mental health issues when i was a weekly church goer

i want to point out that what caused my mental health problems had nothing whatsoever to do with religon but the arrival of my mental health problems spurred me to examine my religous beliefs ( among other things ) and after a ten year process , i became an athiest

i dont believe thier is any real connection between mental health and religon
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Deep Dirty South
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeKingCat View Post
I am of the belief that CHristianity is an unhealthy belief system, and anyone who buys into with the same hyper-religiousity or zeal that we arre seeing in these cases cannot become a healthy or self-actualized person due to the core teachings and beliefs of that religion.
I think Christianity or (insert whatever spiritual path you'd like) can be a positive influence in the lives of many individuals. Some people need that "parent in the sky" to help them reign in some malbehaviors, or certain people might find solace in the fellowship of a church family, or might become more charitable, etc.

However, I'm not sure that "hyper-religiosity or zeal" is necessarily healthy with regards to any belief system; particularly those dealing with superstition and the supernatural.

In other words, it's not (IMO) basic Christianity or Islam (for two examples) that turn someone into a foaming-at-the-mouth Fred Phelps or suicide bomber or terrorist; it is the hyper-zealous obsession with one or other belief system that is ulimately harmful.

The vast majority of religious people (again, in my opinion and experience) are relatively normal, intelligent, kind people. Not complete wackadoos like the hardcore fringe flake element of any movement can be.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:42 AM
 
Location: Florida
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Can a person with Stockholm Syndrome be considered mentally healthy???
If a kid is brought up being told by their parents that they were a worthless, flawed piece of crap but 'we love you anyway', they would be said to have been mentally abused.
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