99. The Power of Prayer

From the Johns Hopkins Health Alert

I thought this was an interesting article; even the medical field is starting to understand the power of prayer and the healing power of deep spiritual faith. Many psychotherapists and psychiatrists who are not believers themselves encourage their patients who have strong Christian beliefs to continue on with that tool in their toolbox, because they see the good results in those recovering from depression and other mental illnesses.

Can religious beliefs or spirituality help your mood disorder? 

While medication and psychotherapy can be effective treatments for depression and anxiety, many people also turn to a higher power for help.

At first glance, religion and medicine seem to be at odds, but this split is relatively recent. In the United States, the first mental hospitals were run by priests in local monasteries. Religion was thought to be a civilizing influence on patients, who were allowed to attend religious services as a reward for good behavior. But in the late 19th century, mental health pioneers Jean Charcot and Sigmund Freud began to link religion with hysteria and neuroses, and mental health treatment lost its religious component.

Today, psychiatrists are increasingly willing to incorporate religion into their practice upon the request of their patients. In fact, psychiatry as a discipline is starting to recognize the potential benefits of religion in their patients’ treatment. For example, the American College of Graduate Medical Education requires that programs provide training in religious or spiritual factors that influence psychological development.

A review article from Duke University examined research on the relationships between religion and depression, suicide, anxiety, psychotic disorders and substance abuse. Out of 724 published studies, more than half found that religious beliefs had a statistically significant positive impact on mental health.

Among 93 observational studies, two-thirds found that more religious people had significantly lower rates of depression or fewer depressive symptoms. And among eight randomized clinical trials, people who participated in religious-based psychological interventions had faster symptom improvement than those in secular-based therapy or a control group.


About Patrick Day

In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.
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