Religious delusions are common symptoms of schizophrenia.

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Medicine*Woman, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Scientists have concluded that there is a deeply manifested relationship between religion and schizophrenia. Common symptoms of non-treated schizophrenics include delusions of both spirituality and religiousness. Religious belief delusions vary across cultures. The impact of religion does not always have a positive outcome. In fact, religious delusions may play a part in substance abuse and suicide attempts. Psychiatrists have found that using religion as part of a patient's treatment can often have adverse outcomes.

    Researchers studied patients having religious delusions to determine how religious beliefs and practices influenced psychotic illness. They found that religious delusions and hallucinations may lead to violent behavior. Kraya and Patrick found that religious delusions led some patients to commit homicide (1). Field and Waldfogel, et al., along with Waugh in a separate study, found that religiously deluded people have quoted Bible scripture after plucking out one or more eyes (2) or cutting off the testicles (3). Religious delusions about the antichrist have led other patients toward violent behaviors (4).

    In a ongoing study by Mohr and Huguelet, their delusional patients who believed they had a close relationship with God, believed that God told them to inflict serious bodily injury to themselves or to others. They found that these same patients heard God's voice telling them to pray, to go to church, to read their Bible, and not to take medication because it hinders their praying and quietens God's voice in their mind (5).

    In a study of inpatients with schizophrenia, conducted by Siddle and Haddock, et al., those with religious delusions were the most severely ill with religious delusions that were more frequently observed and lasted for longer periods of time (6).

    For their patients with schizophrenia, psychiatrists believe that religion and spirituality cannot be used as tools for ongoing social support as they can lead to a more pathological condition.


    (1) Kraya N, Patrick C., Folie a deux in forensic setting. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 1997;31:883-8.

    (2) Field H, Waldfogel S. Severe ocular self-injury. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 1995;17:224-7.

    (3) Waugh A. Auto-castration and biblical delusions in schizophrenia. Br J Psychiatry 1986;149;656-9.

    (4) Silva JA, Leong GB, Weinstock R. Violent behaviors associated with the antichrist delusion. J Forensic Sci 1997;42:1058-61.

    (5) Mohr S and Huguelet P. The relationship between schizophrenia and religion and its implications for care. Swiss Med Wkly 2004;134:369-376.

    (6) Siddle R, Haddock G, Tarrier N, Faragher EB. Religious delusions in patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2002;37:130-8.
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  3. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

    Ah, but mental illness is a conspiracy, remember?
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  5. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    religious delusions?

    what are they?
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  7. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Sorry, but I have never held this opinion. You've lost me here.
  8. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    People that have schizophrenia may have religious delusions, but that doesn't mean that being religious is evidence of mental illness.
  9. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Are you joking? Most psychiatric studies that have been done assessed how religious beliefs and practices influence psychotic manifestation. In my previous post I cited the study by Mohr and Huguelet whose psychotic patients stated having the following religious delusions:

    "One night, I was persecuted by voices, I drove a knife into my belly to kill the demons."

    "Once, during a crisis of anxiety, I was controlled by others."

    "I believed myself to be in a relationship with God, I had to kill myself to save the children [playing in front of his house]. It was an obligation. I took a leash to hang myself. The leash broke. I fell down. The children were still alive. The anxiety went away."

    "The psychiatrists say about me 'mental disorganization'. I find answers to my problems in the Bible. Medication puts my thoughts in order. The question is to know to whom I will submit myself for the organization of my mind."

    "I hear voices who tell me to say 'God is great' and things like that. I have to pray. It is a cult that persecutes me. Medication puts me to sleep and so hinders me from praying."

    Three other patients went on to say:

    "I believed I was possessed by demons. I'd go to an exorcist priest. He taught me the gospel and he cast out the demons...".

    "I don't know if what I see are the spirits of the dead or if I am crazy, so I have to learn more about spiritualism...".

    "I don't know why I suffer from deep anxiety and hallucinations. The psychiatrist told me it was nerves, and the pastor and the members of my church pray for me to be delivered from bad things in the name of Jesus...".

    And more:

    "I have had spiritual experiences. They make me feel unique, but when I see and hear the voice telling me 'kill yourself!', it doesn't help me. I have made numerous suicidal attempts."

    "I want to live the eternal life today. What do you think about being injected to rejoin God?"
  10. Qorl Guest

    Medicine woman, did you ever listen to your mind? Are your thoughts spoken by you, if they are than you're hearing voices. Did you know that musicians write songs with hearing voices?
    I believe that religious people hear voices from God but they become to serious about that. Maybe God try to help them somehow, but they didn't take it right. It's like, I'm chosen by God and I am right.
    I know you don't believe in religion or god but believe me, god is a scientists with technology of a magician.
  11. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member


    how would you say which of these was a delusion?
    how do you say which of them is religious?

    the question really is what is your measuring stick, what are the criteria by which you judge a religious deleusion?
  12. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    I'm sorry, M*W - I thought from your original post that you were saying something newly discovered in psychiatry or the treatment of schizophrenics. Then in your second post you quote several undoubted schizophrenics who happened to give religious symbolism to their torment, to which one's only response is "no shit sherlock".

    You were hinting that any religious feeling was tantamount to mental disorder, whereas what you've in fact discovered is that known mentally ill people have often believed that they were hearing the voice of either God or the Devil and other demons. Yet another brilliant advance in science from the University of the Bleeding Obvious.

    Leaving that aside, I myself have grown to have less and less respect for the statements of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychoanalysts, which are all interchangeable as far as I can see. They still paddle in the shallows of pseudoscience, particularly the psychoanalysts. Freud did a great thing - he made the study of the mind a scientific subject, and freed it from religious and mystical mumbo-jumbo (such as dream interpretation as supernatural predictor of future events). Unfortunately what he then said about the mind was "empirical nonsense" in that it was non-empirical pseudoscience. The theory if the Id, the Ego and the Superego had no testability and no predictive capability. Same with The Interpretation of Dreams. Although Freud has been comprehensively debunked in the scientific literature, the whole mindset in its approach to mental illness still infects the psycho-sciences to this day.

    Nowadays people who hear voices in their heads are pretty automatically diagnosed as "schizophrenic". Yet there are many people hearing such voices who are not, in fact, divorced from reality in the way that true schizophrenia implies. They are rational, they are not psychotic. But they hear voices in their heads. Something's up with the wiring in their brain, but that doesn't make them mad. Psychiatrists, etc, seem to me to be far too predisposed to lump people with an unhelpful diagnosis, without really looking at the evidence rationally and in a scientific manner.

    EDIT: Take for example,
    Did it occur to anybody that the violent behaviour and the fact that the person was suffering delusions (religious or otherwise) were connected, and that the fact that the delusions were, quote "religious" unquote didn't particularly have anything to do with the fact that the people involved were dangerously psychotic. If you're being told to kill people, how is it different if you decide it's the voice of God or the voice of an alien controlling entity? This isn't science!
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2006
  13. Quigly ......................... ..... Registered Senior Member

    Just to chime in, There are many many religious people in the world that hear "God's voice" and are completely sane, progressive to society people. In the same study did they remark on any of the people that heard God's voice and had no schizophrenic or mental derrangement or was this a study where they already chose ill patients and study the already mentally fatigued or plagued individuals? Scientists are pretty good at finding what they were looking for if they set the conditions they way they want them.
  14. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

    the folks in the study already had a history of mental illness, im sure.

    i would doubt that even 1% of religious folks would harm themselves due to "voices in their head".

    its a ridiculous assumption, considering that 86% of the usa claims christianity as a practicing religion, yet the "self inflicted knife wound" ratio is much smaller, im sure. (source: rand mcnally 2002 world atlas) :m:

    in the real world, we call that kind of research "grasping at straws". its a pathetic excuse to discount the only thing science cant really prove: G-d.
  15. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Since I haven't seen these psychotic patients, I would not be able to judge except by what the authors have stated to be true. Otherwise, judging from the research at hand, from the work of these scientists, I'd say they all were delusional to some degree.
  16. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    the opening sentence to this thread;

    what a joke! and you give this feeble little article to support this.

    who is it that is really deluded here?
  17. mis-t-highs I'm filling up Registered Senior Member

    live it and then tell me it has nothing to do with religion:

    My mother's first episode was when I was 7. (i am now 30) I knew something was wrong when she kept telling the woman at the swimming pool, "don't worry, we're all going home, we're going home!"
    since then, she has tried to kill herself several times. She's been catatonic more times than I can count. She's told me of times the rain was made of acid that it would kill me if I walked outside. That the devil had done this.
    Every voice in her head was evil. (when she was hearing voices) when the voices were 'bad' it was much easier to snap her out of it. You are more prone to ignore bad voices. But when god starts talking to you and telling you to go to a nursing home and sacrifice an elderly woman, it's harder to ignore. We had to call the nursing home and have them lock their doors in case she got away from us before we could admit her in a hospital.
    My last year at college she disappeared. She was supposed to pick up my grandmother from work and she never showed. We just knew we'd find her dead somewhere. We found her one week later across the country. She was catatonic. She had gone up to someone's house, knocked on the door and just stood there. They knew something was wrong. They went through her purse, found our number and called us. We had to get in a train across the country to get her.
    My life has been hard. But I love my mother. More than anyone in the world. What I don't understand is the religion thing. This has always been a religion oriented disease for my mum. Everytime she felt good in the church, she would get sick and have to be hospitalized.
    What kind of god would do this?
    My mother is the nicest woman in the world!!!! She would give you the shirt off her back. Even times when she was the sickest, she would give all of our money away.

    My mother does not deserve this mind disease!!!!!!

    (not that anyone does)
  18. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    i tell you that has nothing to do with me
  19. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    So you do *not* have a defined standard of normalcy,

    you have not done any authoritative research in that field yourself,

    and you just take for granted what those studies say.

    Think about this, Medicine Woman, and how non-credible you are making yourself by the way you act and speak.
  20. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Obviously, you did not read the cited research studies. The research I cited was carried out on patients having specific religious delusions, and not on patients who had a general disassociative disorder.

    Since I have spent my entire medical career dealing with research scientists at the highest level of their careers, I have gained a tremendous amount of trust in their work.

    Hearing one's own voice in one's head is normal. It's called 'thinking.' Hearing someone/something else's perceived voice is not normal. It's called 'delusion.' There is a difference. Not only that, some schizophrenics hear voices coming out of TV talking just to them. I've seen patients with this type delusion, although my patients are generally always obstetric patients. Hormones can really wreak havoc with one's mental state.

    To answer your question about violent behavior, generally, the violent behavior is a result of the voices they hear. There are many schizophrenic patients who hear voices but are not violent. Then there are those patients who internalize their violence, as I mentioned in my post. And jails throughout the world are full of schizophrenics who were violent to others. Not all of these cases are based on religious delusions, but scientists (not I) have already proven there is a pathological connection between schizophrenia and religious delusion. Treatment is iffy at best with these folks, because when they take their medication, they realize they aren't as "religious" as they were off their medication, so their treatment often fails. Then there are those who comply with their treatment plan and realize that their obsessive-compulsive religious thoughts and behaviors were a result of their psychiatric diagnosis.

    What I believe is that people who say they hear God or angels or Marie Antoinette or one of the Caesars talking to them probably need to have a psychiatric evaluation. The problem as I see it is that religion is perceived to be "good" and, therefore, acceptable when one hear's God's 'voice' in their mind. Unfortunately, many don't get help because of their preconceived religious perception. Then the problem exacerbates and often their peers continue to egg them on when they need serious psychiatric help. The line has to be drawn at some point where successful intervention can be made. So often with religious folk, that line gets extended beyond a normal mental state where treatment can be perceived as satanic.

    Hearing a voice in one's head (regardless of whose voice is heard) is delusional. There is no argument to refute this.
  21. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: The folks in the study had already been diagnosed as schizophrenic and psychotic with religious delusions. The study was done specifically on the religiously deluded. There have been a minimum of 78 peer-reviewed research studies published on religious delusion that were cited in this study, so the case is not an isolated one.

    You people keep demanding evidence, but when scientific peer-reviewed published studies are presented, you refute them without doing your homework. Now who's delusional?
  22. Gustav Banned Banned

    i regularly have a dialogue with myself
  23. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Hearing one's own voice in one's own head is simply thinking. That is something some of the members here don't often do.

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