Faith Provides Better Outcome in Mental Health Treatment
While many Christian counselors caution against pushing religion too strongly during struggles with mental health problems, it appears belief in God provides more favorable outcomes for psychiatric patients.
The researchers didn’t focus on a specific religion, but the recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that patients with mental illness and a belief in a higher power have much more positive results in treatments compared to agnostic or athiest patients.
The researchers, led by David H. Rosmarin, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, followed 159 patients in McLean Hospital’s cognitive behavioral day-treatment program for depression, bipolar disorder, and other major mental health conditions. Their progress was recorded through structured interviews and consultations with researchers and psychiatrists.
After a year of study, the experiment found that patients who identified as moderately religious or higher also had twice the chances or responding well to treatment.
“Results indicated that over the course of treatment, belief in God, but not religious affiliation, was associated with greater likelihood of treatment response, as well as greater reductions in depression and self-harm and greater increases in psychological well-being,” the study states.
The researchers didn’t have a conclusive reasoning for why religious beliefs made for such improved recoveries, but they suggested that faith may offer optimism or hope. The more hopeful or believing someone is a mental health treatment will work, the more chance their treatment has of working, according to Healthline.
I still believe earnestly trying to push religion on someone struggling with mental health can do more help than good, but this study does show the physical ways belief in God can help patients cope and heal from mental illness. The trick is offering the support the lord gives, while not making the person actually dealing with the illness feel as if belief is being forced onto them.