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Against the Stream: religion and mental health – the case for the inclusion of religion and spirituality into psychiatric care

  • Simon Dein (a1)
Abstract

This paper argues for the inclusion of religion and spirituality in psychiatric care. After discussing the antagonism of psychiatrists and psychologists to religion, I present a critical overview of studies examining the relationships between spirituality, religion and diverse aspects of mental health: depression, suicide, anxiety, delinquency, drug abuse and schizophrenia. The need to assesses the impact of religion in different faith groups is discussed. Measures of religious coping, both positive and negative, may provide a more accurate portrayal as to how individuals deploy religion in their lives than global measures such as belief and attendance. I highlight the fact that there is a dearth of research on ritual, prayer and other aspects of religious experience. While many studies demonstrate positive effects of religion on mental health, others find detrimental effects. Finally I examine the clinical implications of these findings.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Simon Dein (s.dein@qmul.ac.uk)
References
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Against the Stream: religion and mental health – the case for the inclusion of religion and spirituality into psychiatric care

  • Simon Dein (a1)
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