Belief in God Improves Response to Treatment for Depression

Belief in God Improves Response to Treatment for Depression

Belief in God Improves Response to Treatment for Depression
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 8:12 AM

The "Big Man Upstairs" is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers.

A new study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago takes the idea a step further.

In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment," said the new research, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The operative term here is "caring," the researchers said. "The study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement."

The researchers compared the levels of melancholy or hopelessness in 136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression with their sense of "religious well-being." They found participants who scored in the top third of a scale charting a sense of religious well-being were 75 percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression.

"In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said study director Patricia Murphy, a chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health, and human values.

"It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared," she said.

"For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy added. "But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients' lives. It is an important resource in planning their care."

Public opinion polls - from Gallup to the Pew Research Center - reveal that large majorities of Americans believe in God. It is a factor among the researchers as well.

Data released last year by sociologists from the University of California at Berkeley, in fact, revealed that 93 percent of the nation believes in God, a finding that has remained unchanged since 1988.

The Canadian researchers who found that belief in God lowers anxiety and stress also based their conclusions on measurements - monitoring the brain activities of believers and nonbelievers charged with some challenging tasks.

"We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors," said Michael Inzlicht, assistant psychology professor at the University of Toronto, who led the research.

"They're much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error," he said.
3/04/2010 07:19:00 AM | 0 comments |
Can't be coincidence, has to be His doing....

Can't be coincidence, has to be His doing....

After reading a very important message on a blog today on True Tales of a MiniVan Mama, I decided to write this blog post to show my direction and appreciation. Thank you Jenn, you always seem to find the right words to say when I am feeling upside down.
So here goes......

My Family, my gift.

I have basically disappeared from the online world because my life did not feel balance, it felt empty, and yes very very lonely.

I, like so many others share your feelings across the board. I needed to be validated I needed to feel like I have touched lives and did something important with the outside world.

I have pushed aside my husband, children, my extended family, even my pets and home for what I thought was important to me.

What I didn't realize was that this had a long going effect on me. I realized when reading your blog post, how I have also been selfish.

When we do things for ourselves and not through God we actually lose happiness, peace, and relationships instead of gaining validation. It feels so empty and unfulfilled.

Think about it, what means more to you? Validation from your close family members or a stranger online?

Thank you Jenn, for exposing yourself to the world as a fake. I say this in the kindest way for I am a fake as well. I have been a fake to God, my family, and myself.
Thank you Jenn for having the courage to pour your heart out here. You have again been validated here while not trying to be. You have helped one more person steer back to God's way and to put more time, love, into my family where it belongs and is needed.

I say goodbye to putting anything online first. I say goodbye to putting myself first and to reaching out to my children and husband again.

Life is way too short, I know this better than most. It's time to make lasting impressions, strong ties, and put caring committed time back to the relationships that matter to God and to me most.

My time will come when my children have grown. We can do with out luxuries, we can do without a vacation if needed. We can not however do without our family.

I thank God for last night he put me in the hearts of other people again. He surrounded me with people I can connect with in real life. He steered me to read this post this morning to show me that what i have been feeling all along has been right on target and has been him talking to be and weighing on my conscious to wake up and smell the roses he planted for us. I am grateful.
3/03/2010 07:21:00 AM | 0 comments |