Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the take-two-communion-wafers-and-call-me-in-the-morning dept.

Medicine 931

Hatta writes "According to researchers from Harvard Medical School, belief in god is correlated with improved outcomes of treatment for depression. Quoting: 'In the study, published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers comment that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without. "Belief was associated with not only improved psychological well-being, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm," says David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.' This raises interesting questions. Does this support the concept of depressive realism? If the association is found to be causal, would it be ethical for a psychiatrist to prescribe religion?"

cancel ×

931 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is here, because? (-1, Troll)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#43563105)

Is there ANY reason for this to be an article on /.

Or is this just just a blatant example of editors posting flame-fodder?

Re:This is here, because? (1, Offtopic)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43563139)

Why, it's a science story, of course.

Which means, yeah, it's a blatant example of the editors posting flame-fodder.

Of course, we all know the exact text of every single troll that will be posted here, so perhaps the real sport will be in seeing who's dumb enough to not roll their eyes and abstain.

Re:This is here, because? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563231)

Why is it that a Slashdot community filled with raging atheists is perfectly willing to entertain that idea that our entire universe is a simulation on someone's computer ( a defacto God), yet any of mention of God solicits instant condemnation? I find that interesting.

Re:This is here, because? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563261)

Because both ideas are absurd and no one actually believes that the entire universe is a simulation.
That is, no one sane.
Those that do believe in such a theory could argue that the Christian god/Allah/whoever is immoral and us being an experiment is just research into artificial intelligence, and thus moral.

Damn, I dunno. Go ask the people who claim to believe in a simulated universe. When you find them? Let me know.

Re:This is here, because? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43563325)

Why is it that a Slashdot community filled with raging atheists...

If it makes you feel better the article points out that the raging atheists have a disadvantage against people who are upbeat due to a spiritual belief. So take solace in knowing that like a scorpion that stung the frog, raging atheists do it because it is their nature.

(BTW this is tongue-in-cheek)

Re:This is here, because? (2, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43563489)

Why is it that worshipers label all atheists as 'raging' while they play no-true-scotsman fallacy games when challenged about atrocities done in the names of their religions? It's perfectly normal to find such toxic irrationality enraging, especially when it's used to justify limiting liberty or committing murder.

Re:This is here, because? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#43563337)

Spoken like a true AC. [golf claps]

Re:This is here, because? (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43563409)

atheists are religious too; they prescribe to the dogma that there is no god, but it's not like they have any more proof of their beliefs than those that believe god exists. they often argue that a lack of undeniable proof in god proves there isn't one (an argument from ignorance), neglecting that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

i don't prescribe to any religious doctrine (such as a bible or physics textbook, both usually containing questionable prophecies and hypotheses) so i don't associate with atheism... i have my own beliefs that i'm not aware are shared by others in any sort of organizational sense. my beliefs include bits of various religions that make sense to me (Jesus may indeed have been a real man that existed around 2000 years ago), as well as practical science that can be demonstrated by experiment, and a belief that because there is so much about the universe that we are yet to discover let alone understand that it is foolish to disregard 'fringe' phenomenon like magic, ghosts and fortune telling (i'll admit i'm a little bit skeptical about ghosts for example but only because of a lack of personal exposure but i'm still open to possibilities).

i think choosing to believe in god or that there is no god is fine... problems arise when like minded folks get together and form gangs (organized religions) and try to convince or coerce others of their beliefs. sharing beliefs is a good thing, but when people get together certain negative aspects of human nature (such as greed and tyranny) can be amplified and other individuals can be taken of. while i don't see any benefit (or point) in banning organised religion, i thing we should be a bit careful about how it can be misused.

Re:This is here, because? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563559)

...Are you me? We're pretty alike, except based on experience and reading I do suspect there is a God of sorts, though nothing like the genocidal maniac Yahweh that more than half the world worships. More like Einstein and Spinoza's God than Aquinas's, to put it in perspective.

Re:This is here, because? (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43563437)

Because, while entertaining hypotheses can be interesting, using them to justify war, censorship, or other state policy are two very different things.

Re:This is here, because? (2, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43563463)

a Slashdot community filled with raging atheists

I tend to think of it as a Slashdot community filled with raging Gods

Re:This is here, because? (0)

humblepie (650771) | about a year ago | (#43563515)

I find it interesting you know the community is filled with raging atheists, who think the universe is a computer simulation. Did I miss the slashdot poll which tests your thesis? Is this not a gross simplification and generalization? I thought the slashdot community was filled with angry theists. Then again, perhaps you're the only one.

Re:This is here, because? (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43563569)

Many "God" claims imply an element of personal responsibility to judgement --- a "God" who not only exists in the Deist's sense as a setter-in-motion of cosmic mechanics, but proscribes a normative framework for human interactions. And nobody likes being held accountable to standards they did not set. One could certainly imagine a "universe simulator" who is also deciding which simulation fragments are beautiful and worth saving, and which to pipe to /dev/null, but this is generally not a characteristic ascribed to the (often presumed to be "scientific" and "morally neutral") simulation operator.

Re:This is here, because? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43563247)

Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

so does marajuana use, so therefore belief in god must correlate with marajuana use :P

Re:This is here, because? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#43563353)

Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

so does marajuana use, so therefore belief in god must correlate with marajuana use :P

Actually, the opposite effect on mental health is probably more likely for marijuana. [psychcentral.com]

Does screaming OH GOD during sex (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563107)

Correlate to better outcomes during sex?

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (0, Flamebait)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about a year ago | (#43563167)

Yes [dailymail.co.uk] , unless your partner is both the religious and jealous type (Joseph was OK with it, apparently).

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (3, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43563477)

That article says there is no scientific basis for women making noises during sex. Another article I read says that the female bonobo makes noises during sex which attracts the attention of nearby males so they can join in... just sayin'.

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (0, Offtopic)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#43563219)

Actually, screaming BABY SWALLOW MY COCK DEEPER THEN TAKE IT UP THE ASS would correlate to an even better out-cum

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (0, Redundant)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#43563309)

Wow. That escala... climaxed quickly.

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563333)

or signal the awkward moment where she slaps you, put on her clothes, and leaves.

Re:Does screaming OH GOD during sex (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43563317)

If it's Jesus getting it on with his dad, it's perfectly legit. If it's Jesus getting it on with his mother, Jesus might get jealous when she screams, "Oh, God!"

Not religion, but purpose (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43563111)

That's what people crave. They can't live with the possibility that life might have no meaning at all, that we're just here and should make the best of it.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (3, Insightful)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year ago | (#43563225)

But to have a sense of purpose in a meaningless world, it needs to be packaged properly. Religion is just a very effective and time-tested vessel for purpose.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#43563297)

No Religion is the simplest and laziest method for giving some purpose. Have some mythical all knowing (or partially knowing depending on which religion) be the person responsible for "YOUR" actions.

Humans are lazy. we like the simplest way of doing things. Things like using fear to control mobs, and having some fairy sky being responsible for your actions makes things much easier to understand.

Religions generally use fear to control. If you don't follow us something bad will happen to you. However Fear while simple is actually the worst way to get someone to follow you. One day they will stop being afraid and if your lucky they will let you live while they leave.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563349)

>Fear while simple is actually the worst way to get someone to follow you. One day they will stop being afraid and if your lucky they will let you live while they leave.
Isn't this advice advocating fear of man?

Re:Not religion, but purpose (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43563513)

Try buddhism. Doesn't really use fear. Jsut says look deeply both internally and externally and try to do what is right.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (3, Informative)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#43563329)

But to have a sense of purpose in a meaningless world, it needs to be packaged properly. Religion is just a very effective and time-tested vessel for purpose.

Umm, try enslavement, not purpose. Religion is a distraction from reality used to get power over people. TFA on the other hand is talking about belief in God, which does not necessarily include organized religious affiliation, i.e., religion. Belief in God gives people a happy, fuzzy feeling that there's a giant spaghetti monster (or whatever you believe) hovering high above them their whole life watching out for them and making sure good things and not bad happen to them. That's crazy!

Re:Not religion, but purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563493)

It is also respite for the hopeless. The very poor, the terminally ill, the imprisoned, the impaired. The people who are in a miserable position with no hope of ever bettering their lot in life will turn to the spiritual as a way out. The line of thinking that this life has been shitty, but by being ultra-religious there will be a much better afterlife waiting in some form or another after they've put in their time in this life. This cosmic apology from a creator certainly would provide some relief to the downtrodden, keeping them happy as well as pacified, but of course it can also lead to mass suicides, jihad, or whatever else might be convenient for the pushers of this drug.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (4, Insightful)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43563251)

Neither. It's just the basis of cognitive therapy. You replace the thoughts that lead to X (X = depression in this case) with other thoughts. Religion is just convenient because it doesn't require any extra work for the therapist - it just requires you read religious texts instead of the therapist figuring out what will work best for the individual.

Re:Not religion, but purpose (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43563483)

That's what people crave. They can't live with the possibility that life might have no meaning at all, that we're just here and should make the best of it.

That's my take on it too. I read somewhere that "12 step" programs like AA work best with a belief in a higher power... not necessarily god but some higher purpose to give their life meaning and provide the illusion of support.

but whatever floats your boat. As long as a religious person doesn't push their beliefs onto others then it's all good

No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563113)

"If the association is found to be causal, would it be ethical for a psychiatrist to prescribe religion?"

No.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year ago | (#43563269)

Not only unethical, but kind of pointless. Western religions aren't exactly subtle -- if you've reached adulthood and don't follow any, then you're probably not the kind of person who ever would.

p.s. Law only applies to headlines, but still funny.

oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563115)

inb4 shitstorm

obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563117)

yes, your daily routine is better if you believe that everything will be all right. Has little to do with the belief that someone is 'watching over' you. I can't stand the term 'higher power'

Duh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563129)

It's much easier to just realize there's no god (and resolve your mental illness) then it would be to address real problems, like depression...

Beliefs (3, Interesting)

zubieta (2653061) | about a year ago | (#43563131)

Makes sense, at least in my point of view. I'm a atheist, and I have got into depressions regarding the meaning of life, the un/fairness behind it, a lot of trascendental questions, also a fear of death, which people that believes in a god, with fervor, may not feel, since they may believe there is a life after death, there is a meaning behind everything, that there is a god that loves you, etc.

Re:Beliefs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563273)

Makes sense, at least in my point of view. I'm a atheist, and I have got into depressions regarding the meaning of life, the un/fairness behind it, a lot of trascendental questions, also a fear of death, which people that believes in a god, with fervor, may not feel, since they may believe there is a life after death, there is a meaning behind everything, that there is a god that loves you, etc.

Except, Googling suicide victims shows (citation [yahoo.com] citation [religioustolerance.org] , there are more) that most of them were religious. Go figure.

Re:Beliefs (1)

Imrik (148191) | about a year ago | (#43563449)

Your citations show that atheists are more likely to commit suicide. More interestingly to me, members of religions that strongly prohibit suicide are more likely to commit suicide than members of religions that don't.

Re:Beliefs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563351)

Why do the believers cry at their elaborate funerals? If they truly believed, they would just say "lucky guy. I'll see you soon."
Since most religions say no suicide and great afterlife, would the believers consider me a hero if I helped as many of them I could finish up their lives? You bet they would, if they believed.

Re:Beliefs (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43563505)

Makes sense, at least in my point of view. I'm a atheist, and I have got into depressions regarding the meaning of life, the un/fairness behind it, a lot of trascendental questions, also a fear of death, which people that believes in a god, with fervor, may not feel, since they may believe there is a life after death, there is a meaning behind everything, that there is a god that loves you, etc.

I'm an athiest too - but I would find the concept of a God who lets bad things happen to good people just to serve his mysterious higher purpose even more depressing than the idea that nothing happens for a reason.

Where's the science here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563135)

If it doesn't relate our beliefs to a deep-seated fixation on the anus due to repressed sexual desires for one's mother, it can hardly be called real science.

Slashdot has been coopted by some awful retards.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563143)

Intellectual poison...

Headline says it all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563145)

Didn't even read the summary. What is this doing on Slashdot? Can we please ban everything related to God here?
I'm so sick of religious scum. Please go and drown yourselves. This includes all christian assholes.

Thanks

Ignorance *is* bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563151)

Who'd a thunk it?

Re:Ignorance *is* bliss (1)

Joe U (443617) | about a year ago | (#43563173)

jinx

Thus proving... (5, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | about a year ago | (#43563153)

That ignorance is bliss.

Headline FAIL. (5, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | about a year ago | (#43563169)

The key thing missing in the headline: "In treatment of depression".

Other things missing: "in one isolated study", "in an article summarizing the study, without any direct link to the research", and of course, "a highly biased interpretation meant to generate views based on obvious controversy."

Keep in mind, this may also be highly cultural, as many nations have much larger percentage non-believing populations, but not worse depression or suicide rates that correlate.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Headline FAIL. (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43563339)

Yes it's one study. Where was this concern when it was one study showing correlation between religious belief and being an idiot, or having higher chance of teen pregnancy or promiscuity, or believing in UFOs? :)

As a libertarian atheist, I bitch a lot about a lot, but this turnabout is fun if for no other reason than some detractors of religion are just nonsentient goobers latching onto anything to hate another group, just like any other meme regurgitator in support of their overmeme , thus missing the bigger picture.

It's comforting to have an easy out. (5, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43563185)

It's God's will. God is testing me. It's beyond my control. There's also the "God gives me strength" angle.

I suppose it's easier to overcome mental health problems if one believes that they bear no responsibility for their troubles and that an infinitely powerful being will make everything okay if they just believe. A metaphysical placebo.

It's a bit rougher if you've only got yourself to blame for your shortcomings and believe the strength to overcome must come from within.

God gives cover to any excuse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563255)

After all, if God didn't want you to do something, you'd get a message.

Therefore, whatever you want to do is okay.

Re:God gives cover to any excuse (5, Funny)

RussR42 (779993) | about a year ago | (#43563371)

Homer: Dear Lord, The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done.

Re:It's comforting to have an easy out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563343)

I would contest that point with the fact that there are those of us who do believe we are in control of our lives, but seek guidance from "God." I do have several mental health related issues that I work on all the time. There are times when FAITH comes in handy, and it helps me get through stress times. Some people turn to booze, or drugs, or other non-productive behaviors, but I tend to go help people and learn how to help others get over their issues. I also believe we are responsible for finding our own strength to overcome our obstacles, and that "God" only provides the tools to handle life. What we do with the tools we are given depends upon ourselves.

Re:It's comforting to have an easy out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563355)

What if it is a chemical inbalance ? (You are still better without any medication they have other than possibly the ones they won't use).

If the depression is caused by you believing that you are an agent of Shiva and you are depressed because you think he is going to do something terrible through you that is totally different again.

What if it is caused by another defect ? I can imagine for people in a similar condition to Stephen Hawking (Even for him) that is fairly depressing.

There is other things like seeing your parents blown to bits in front of your eyes when you are young or being seriously sexually abused as a kid that can cause depression for the rest of peoples lives through no real fault of their own.

(I am not an atheist because the fundamental rules basics of big bang nothing -> something doesn't make any sense at all something has to happen somewhere to cause the process to start. I am not a theist either so I am agnostic.)

Re:It's comforting to have an easy out. (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43563379)

If it's a chemical imbalance, you definitely shouldn't be waiting for God to make it right. That's where you turn to science, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Re:It's comforting to have an easy out. (0)

bitrex (859228) | about a year ago | (#43563451)

There is no more scientific evidence for the "chemical imbalance" hypothesis of mental illness, as promulgated by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry, than there is scientific evidence of God.

If you can belive in a god (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563187)

Then you can be tricked into believing you can be helped by the doctor. A weak mind is easily manipulated. Both for good and evil.

Tip of the day (1)

niff (175639) | about a year ago | (#43563191)

I've heard that heroine is also very good at masking problems.

Re:Tip of the day (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43563263)

A masked heroine? Like Batgirl?

Re:Tip of the day (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43563405)

If they were passing out heroines instead of collection plates at churches, they might get more folks to think about going there.

Churches also need to provide more education on the sin side of things. You, know, like you need to experience it, so you will know how to avoid it sometime in the future, when you have experienced enough of it. Kinda sorta like:

"Keep your good friends close, but your enemies closer."

"And bed down with sin."

Placebo effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563195)

If you believe that the inventor of the universe and all it contains has a personal interest in little old you and really wants you to do well and join him in forever Disneyland. . .

Re:Placebo effect. (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43563285)

Yes, in fact, that's exactly what's going on. Many studies have shown the placebo effect is real - but only if you think it will work...

Worthless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563197)

Seriously, a link to the source instead of to the actual study.

http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327%2812%2900599-X/abstract

There, now I don't feel like dropping $31 to read their methodology, but unless it was from a large cross section of people in very different geographical locale the test does nothing but prove that people from a specific area do well from their belief in god. Perhaps they have a pastor there that helps take care of depressed paritoners? Did they put those that did not believe in god into some form of community? Generally church goers have access to a support system via the church, which can help immensely with depression. Unless they compared that with a number depressed atheist who also had decent support systems, the test does nothing except prove you can get a study to say anything you like if you eliminate enough outside factors from the methodology.

Does it also correlate with (4, Interesting)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year ago | (#43563201)

Does it also correlate with more than usual incidences of requiring help for such maladies?

Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563207)

He's Jewish! I call shenanigans on a religious psychiatrist's evaluation of subjects with relation to mental stability.

The power of friends? (4, Interesting)

Xeoz (1648225) | about a year ago | (#43563209)

Having an invisible friend that you know not only believes in you but genuinely loves you is a powerful thing. I'd be very interested to know if people with human friends who love and believe in them enjoy the similar success.

Charlie Sheen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563221)

""If you won't let me lie I can't make you feel better." ~Charlie Harper/Sheen
Anger Management: Season 2 Episode 11 – Charlie Dates Crazy, Sexy, Angry

Reality IS depressing (4, Insightful)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#43563229)

Reality as it's given to us by society and interpreted through rationality IS depressing. The secret is - you don't stop there, you keep going. deeper.

Re:Reality IS depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563383)

I would have liked this idea, but I'm too rational to feel encouragement from this insight.

I want my stoic back, stoic back, stoic back ribs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563235)

Remember when people were aware that emotions are useless. Oh, nostalgia.

George Bernard Shaw (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563241)

"That a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than a drunk man being happier than a sober one."

How does religion correlates with mental issues? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563249)

Without knowing how many religious people get mental health issues compared to the same amount of non-religious people, it would be difficult to have a baseline. In the modern world, the most horrendous cases of nuttiness seem to have religion as a drive.

Ho boy, break out the asbestos underwear (3, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year ago | (#43563271)

It's a same we can't moderate the article as flamebait.

Not surprising to me.... (1)

zoffdino (848658) | about a year ago | (#43563279)

Religions were invented to help people coup with fear, to shift the reasons for actions unknown to a supreme being whom no one can see. Correctly applied, religions do help people overcome psychological barriers. The way I see it is like in marriage, if you don't talk to your spouse then eventually a wall develop around you, making the relationship colder and less meaningful. Just by trusting each other, you can feel much relieved. A belief in a supreme being accomplishes the same thing, as He (always a he in most religions) supposedly always loves you. A before you guys mod me down, I'm a non-believer who find much flaws in religions. But I never deny its benefits in some cases. After all, your body is only as strong as your mind is. Now you can mod me down.

Not that significant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563281)

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016503271200599X

Their p-values are barely squeaking by at just under the .05 level. There could also be some confounding variables they didn't factor into their analysis.

I can "believe" it (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about a year ago | (#43563287)

It would give you the sense that no matter what someone does care and all the other wonderful feelings that come with a belief system. There is supposedly a religious area of the brain, so I can believe that it may help.

There is nothing at all wrong with that. Most people have some sort of belief system, be it religious or another spiritual sense.

The dangerous part is when the church or governing body of that belief system is corrupt and they tell you that you must believe their word and that is it. Examples include the proclamation of the Catholic church that condoms are evil or un-chrisitian, thus preventing religious people that wish to partake in sex unable to use some sort of contraception to prevent the spread of diseases like AIDS.
I use this example strictly because it is fresh in my mind from watching a debate on whether "The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World."

I don't believe it would be ethical to recommend a specific religion to a patient, but letting them know about the communities that follow religions and the support network they can form I see nothing wrong with.

Enjoy each day (5, Interesting)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year ago | (#43563289)

People are so worried about how long they have to live and what will happen to them after death that they forget to enjoy the life they have. A close relative was diagnosed with low grade lymphoma a few months ago (manageable but unfortunately uncurable ) and she wander why I took such a devastating diagnosis to open her eye to the happiness of everyday life. "I don’t take life for granted anymore. I learned to live in the moment. I also realized that when I live in the present moment, life is wonderful" she said to me. It sounded like a frigging cliche but she seems happier than she has ever been. Perhaps we are just wired to constantly worry and its only when faced with the prospect of death that we realize how futile an effort it is.

Hmmm... (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#43563291)

I guess it would depend on whether or not you see belief in God as an act of lunacy.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

RussR42 (779993) | about a year ago | (#43563423)

Well, what do you call it when someone insists that something is real with no evidence for its existence? Maybe this [thefreedictionary.com] ...

Duh (1)

nbritton (823086) | about a year ago | (#43563295)

If a depressed person feels that "god" has a purpose for them, they're more likely to power through until things get better. Faith in purpose is really what was just correlated...

Re:Duh (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year ago | (#43563521)

Depression is a mental illness and we must be very careful as belief can be a double edged sword in this situation. As you described it can be a positive influence but unfortunately when mentally-ill people take it upon themselves to decide whats "gods purpose" for them is, the consequences are often tragic.

Key phrase: "short-term" (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#43563319)

You want long-term outcomes, try believing in yourself.

psychiatrist to prescribe religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563323)

Definitely not ethical to recommend someone who is depressed to take up a religion. Isn't this just recruiting suicide bombers for the religious crazies?

Good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563361)

While its still just one study, its worth trying to replicate and research some more (ever wondered what religion is the best anti-drepressant?)

Its not as if the research is suggesting we all become religious. Its just saying that in certain cases, the belief in a higher entity may be beneficial for a certain healing process. And that is good to know. Possibly there is an underlying reason why this is better and we can possibly help cure depressions more easily thanks to this discovery.

This reminds me of a saying I heard long long ago: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563381)

"Religion is a ruse that must be maintained for the masses."
-Said by someone I cant for the life of me remember, and probably even said differently, but the basis remains the same.

I understood it then, same as I understand it now, Humans are simple creatures (when it comes to emotions and feelings), without something to BELIEVE in (god, religion, the fact that humanity doesn't suck as a whole and doesn't deserve to populate the earth we constantly trash), or strive towards (that perfect family and life so many religious nutters push upon other's), they will become depressed and aimless and as stated, self destructive.

The fact that it took a study to figure this out... Well, I repeat my own comment about Humanity being undeserving of populating this planet.

-AC1856

After reading the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563411)

After reading the article, I just feel there is one thing wrong with it.
And that is that it says "a believe in God". And not, "a believe in a higher power". It gives a wrong image, sure, in the article itself they say that even people that didn't list a particular religion but still believed in a higher power of some sorts also were among the group where treatment was best.

Saying "a believe in God" kinda implies a believe in the biblical God, to most people in europe and the us. All in all, I think they should not mix "a believe in God" with "a believe in a god". Perhapse their intention is the same, but the first one has a bigger chance to lead to the wrong idea.

Also, I find it odd that one of the questions was if they believed the treatment would help or not and that the article has no conclussion based on that question. It seems to me to be at least as important if not more that the patient believes their treatment will help rather than if there is a god.

Really? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#43563417)

People who are delusional and believe that something else is responsible for their behavior and condition and thus can fix them have a "positive mental health outcome"? Really?

What you call the cure, I call the cause. (2, Insightful)

arekin (2605525) | about a year ago | (#43563461)

Shouldn't mental health be treating delusional behavior instead of encouraging it?

have they controlled for intelligence? (1)

quenda (644621) | about a year ago | (#43563465)

Believers are more likely to be less intelligent, which may reduce the risk of depression.

There's a reason why they focused on short term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563501)

Because Long term, it's all the same. That's why AA does not publish recidivism rates for the year.

pills as self-? (1)

w4r0nc0re (2613419) | about a year ago | (#43563503)

"Belief was associated with not only improved psychological well-being, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm," So, instead of referring to the likelihood the inmate/patient has to hide/stop the pills, it's journalism to refer only to self-harm. Try, Belief was associated with long-term success on antidepressants.

There's always two sides to a coin (4, Insightful)

Jaktar (975138) | about a year ago | (#43563511)

Another way to look at their results is that there needs to be an improvement in the psychological treatment of atheists because there may be some bias in the treatment that tends to push people to appeal to the spiritual. Maybe a bit like AA.

There is a distinct lack of research in the area of atheist vs theist rates of psychological problems. Of the available research, here is one such study that suggests that atheists are less likely to suffer from depression:
http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/buggle_20_4.html [secularhumanism.org]

I haven't done the digging yet but the submitted article smells like the Templeton Foundation may have had an influence.

Re:There's always two sides to a coin (5, Informative)

Jaktar (975138) | about a year ago | (#43563535)

Well fuck me. I hate replying to myself bit I didn't expect it to be so easy to track down.

See here:
http://www.jpsych.com/pdfs/david.hillel.rosmarin.cv.pdf [jpsych.com]

Prepared: November, 2012
David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D.

GRANT REVIEW ACTIVITIES
2012 John Templeton Foundation

The Templeton Foundation Strikes again.

Study correlates treatment with researchers belief (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | about a year ago | (#43563527)

Of course none of which provides evidence as to the existence `God' or even the effectiveness of psychiatric treatment in general. What it does do is demonstrate the beliefs and prejudices of the people carrying out the `study'. eg, Someone who believes in a `higher power' asks a vulnerable adult if they believe in a `higher power', if so they allocate them higher marks. Now what would be the results if Richard Dawkins carried out the study.

Sure, with a behaviorist treatment ... (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#43563529)

All behaviorist psychology is based on the idea that people is gullible and easy to manipulate. So, sure, if the treatment's success is directly correlated to how gullible the person is, then creationists will be cured in nanoseconds. Maybe Freudian/Lacanian psychoanalysis, or any other technique that respects the intelligence of the patient would have a better outcome with people that aren't absolute retards.

This Just In... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563537)

People with legs in casts get around better on crutches than those who struggle without.

Have they controlled for which god? (2)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43563551)

Because I can totally see belief in certain gods being correlated with catastrophically negative outcomes.

Short-term treatment... (1)

SigmaTao (629358) | about a year ago | (#43563561)

By passing the size of this study for the moment.
From article: "Of the patients sampled, more than 30 percent claimed no specific religious affiliation yet still saw the same benefits in treatment if their belief in a higher power was rated as moderately or very high."
No religious affiliation means effectively that the higher power is just a way of imagining something looking out for you, caring for you and loving you.
I am not surprised that if you imagine there is someone caring about you and loving you you are going to feel more positive about life in general. That it is imaginary means it can not disappoint you. That the very act of that imagination is providing a short term positive future.
I'm sure if a patient had an actual love affair with a real human being, the effects would be the similar if not superior.
If on the other hand some therapist suggested to me personally that a I might like to think there is a higher power looking out for me, it would send me into a deeper depression because if that is how they think my mind works I really must despair.
We are also embedded in a culture where believing in a god (of some description) is seen as more socially normal than those who do not.
Normal is sometimes the more attractive option to the depressed than their current state. Simply joining the "belief group" is a social inclusive particularly over the short term.
That this question is being asked inside a treatment context, it's hard to think that that isn't a bias in the way people are treated, and it doesn't take much for such a bias to undermine any other treatment.
I do hope they don't think that taking up the habit of thinking of a higher power is a treatment option. If that is the case, perhaps a drug addiction should be considered a treatment too.

I believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43563571)

And I guess I would be happier I could believe in some god that was in control and could help instead of being all alone. A bit of blind faith in that magic can happen probably makes you feel safer.
On the other hand, I have never felt so free and relieved as when I finally decided to leave the church. Of course it's a bit scary when you realize you can't rely on superstition. :)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>