Health

Study: Believing in God Helps Treat Mental Health Disorders

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A study suggests that believing in God leads to better results after psychiatric treatment.

The research was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. It discovered that people with a mental illness who believed in a higher power were more likely to see good results from being treated.

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"Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States -- over 90 [percent] of the population - these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life," study researcher David H. Rosmarin said. "I hope that this work will lead to larger studies and increased funding in order to help as many people as possible."

It included 159 people who were admitted to a day-treatment program at McLean Hospital. The average age was 33, and around 60 percent of them had been diagnosed with depression, while 12 percent were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. All others were diagnosed with other disorders, such as anxiety.

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They asked them about their level of belief in God, gauging it from not believing to having a high level of belief. At the end of treatment, they rated their depression, well-being and self-harm levels.

Those who expressed believing in God between "moderate" and "high" had better chances of responding well to treatment, while those who said the do not believe in God or only believe in him slightly had a doubled risk of not responding to treatment.

An interesting finding was that those who believed in God but were not religiously affiliated still had positive outcomes.

"As a whole, these findings suggest that belief in God is associated with improved treatment outcomes in psychiatric care," researchers wrote. "More centrally, our results suggest that belief in the credibility of psychiatric treatment and increased expectations to gain from treatment might be mechanisms by which belief in God can impact treatment outcomes."

Last year, another study by the University of Missouri showed that spirituality correlates with better health, even in those who do not adhere to a specific religion.

"With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe," researcher Dan Cohen said.

Sources: Daily Mail, PsychCentral