Belief in a Caring God Improves Response to Medical Treatment for Depression, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2010) — Research suggests that religious belief can help protect against symptoms of depression, but a study at Rush University Medical Center goes one step further.
In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
A total of 136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression at inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care facilities in Chicago participated in the study. The patients were surveyed shortly after admission for treatment and eight weeks later, using the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Religious Well-Being Scale -- all standard instruments in the social sciences for assessing intensity, severity and depth of disease and feelings of hopelessness and spiritual satisfaction.
Response to medication, defined as a 50-percent reduction in symptoms, can vary in psychiatric patients. Some may not respond at all. But the study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement. Specifically, participants who scored in the top third of the Religious Well-Being Scale were 75-percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression.
The researchers tested whether the explanation for the improved response was linked instead to the feeling of hope, which is typically a feature of religious belief. But degree of hopefulness, measured by feelings and expectations for the future and degree of motivation, did not predict whether a patient fared better on anti-depressants.
"In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said Patricia Murphy, PhD, a chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health and human values at Rush University. "It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared."
"For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy said. "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."
George Fitchett, PhD, also a chaplain at Rush and the director of the religion, health and human values program at Rush University, co-authored the study.
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My love to hate topic. The belief does not have to be in a God. If I said I had a bottle that had healing powers and I got a thousand others to believe in my healing bottle then it would have the exact same effect. So it is not the God that is important. It is the belief. It doesn't matter what you believe in. Once you believe in something. I do think that without a belief there is this empty void. So, to me, belief is important in a very big way. But not in God. Though some take that option as is their right to do so. Whatever works for each person. Be it a God or a bottle or a rock. Once you are getting something from it that is of help to you, it is doing you good.
I don't feel it's has as much to do with "healing powers" as it does in believing that something bigger than all of us is in control. I feel it gives a person much comfort to feel that God is there for them, hears them, and cares, at a time when they feel the most alone and hopeless. On the other hand, it is when we are at our lowest point that many of us question God, does he exist, and if so why am I still suffering? I sometimes wish I had that never waivering belief, but I don't. I admire the people who do because I have seen a lot of people who would have given up if not for their faith. I guess so long as you believe you are never alone, there's always hope. I think so long as you're not finding your comfort in alcohol, or illegal drugs, stay with it.
An eight week study for a recurring and chronic disease? Look at the studies for medication -- placebo did nearly a swell as the medication, but the placebo effect tapers off over time and the medication effect doesn't. So you've just proved the placebo effect, thanks very much, for the millionth time.
Hello. Based upon my experience, which has consisted of being treated for and observing others with depressive, anxiety based, and chemical dependency disorders, those that are willing to believe in a higher power, which I call God, have seen not only recovery, but profound life transformations. These are most prominent in individuals who have been deemed hopeless by doctors and therapists. I'm not talking about organized religion, as I have issues with that, but rather belief in something greater than any human power. The only obstacles that hinder the willingness to accept this possibility are pride and intelligence, and mine dam near killed me. I have seen first hand the healing of spirituality in individuals where meds, therapy and conventional religion have failed. Its up to the individual to decide on a personal level as believing anything just because were told to do so is going to be influenced by another persons view. And history shows that anything that passes through human hands, including religion, is subject to corruption. But for those that want to improve the quality of their lives, belief in a power greater than themselves can be both healing and inspirational. Take care, GM
You don't get it at all...I would advise you spend some time with people that have a deep personal relationship with God to understand. I am not trying to be judgemental of your belief but I don't think you understand Christianity.
This is one of the easiest things in the world to me. I believe in God! I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and I believed He died on the cross for my sins. I know 100% that because Jesus was willing to do this for me and all that believe in Him, and that I accepted Him as My Lord and Saviour, that I will spend eternity in Heaven with God. God did not promise me heaven on this earth now, but later. I will have and have had much pain, and suffering in this life now. But God promise me no pain and suffering in heaven .
Oh, how I wait for his returning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would beg you to pick up you a bible and read it Maybe start in John, and say to God,
If you are real show me in your word, I promise to read it every day for 30 days, and be open to Listening , and ask him to show you if He is truly real.
The evil one will do everything is his power to keep you from knowing the truth, because you have only one Master over your soul, either the Devil or God.
If I am wrong that what do I have to loose, if you are wrong you loose big time, we will all bow our Knees before God in Heaven one day. Either as a child of the King, and live in heaven for ever, or as a child of the devil (and be cast out forever in hell)
I know this is very strong to a lot of you, this is very serious stuff .
The Lord is my hope, He is who I turn to when I feel know one else understands my pain, He is truly there for me. It is not a placebo thing. It is a LIVING SPIRIT (GOD) living in me.
I know this to be true. He truly brings me peace, in pain, in suffering, The bible says this world is a blick of the eye compared to eternity.
God doesn't wear off, like medicine does. We sometimes think we can handles things better than God can and we live our lives without putting God First, and doing things that breaks the closeness of our relationship, sometimes we have to come to and end of ourselves, to ask Him for help again. God's always there for us, we push Him out, and He loves us so much that He will do what it takes to bring us to HimSelf
He Desires so much to have a relationship with us. He wants us to come to Him just the way we are. We don't have a to-do list and get things right first, He has done all the work, you just have to truly , believe and accept Him, then He will guide your path,
From my own experience, those that want to experience those things spiritual need only to have willingness and an open mind. Some experience instant and profound changes, however, for many it is a more gradual process. Many who are hesitant to try anything having to do with God have had prior negative experiences with a particular set of religious ideologies or circular reasoning used to answer their questions. One of the biggest problems I hear is the response, "its Gods will" as a reason why good and bad things happen. This, according to theology, is not entirely accurate, as we as humans have free will, which has a definitive impact on both our lives and the lives of others. Is it Gods will for things like starvation, child abuse, or genocide to occur? I don't believe so. These kinds of things are direct results of human decisions. Then of course you have things like religion based wars- Muslims killing Christians, Christians killing Muslims, etc and scandalous behavior like the catholic efforts to suppress the rash of child molesting priests. Its no surprise that many are turned off when it comes to things religious. What really matters is the personal relationship that an individual has with their conception of God, not based on fear of punishment or being rejected by others who often times are so caught up in the trappings of religion, they fail to see what is important. Jimmy buffet said there's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning, and the hypocrisy that seems to stand out all too often. I'm not implying that religion is inherently bad, but rather that humans are imperfect- we make mistakes from the junkie on the streets to the pope. What matters is the love and compassion for others that is the principle tenet of all walks of faith, as well as learning from our mistakes, and trying to get it right next time. This is where belief in a higher power is so instrumental. It provides the ability to do so when every fiber of our being tells us to be self centered and to seek vengeance when we've been wronged. A relationship with God is just that- a relationship. It has to be developed over time. And more often than not, when this is pursued honestly, more and more will be revealed as questions are answered and understanding increases. It is then that religion is no longer "the opiate of the people", but rather a life enhancing presence that makes our journey more meaningful and rewarding. Best wishes to all- GM
See, this is why I posted negatively to this post. Religion should be kept to the religious forums and chat rooms. Everyone has different spiritual beliefs or none at all, and when we get to talking about it it's like fraternity talk -- mine's better than yours. All spiritual beliefs show an equal placebo effect, and there's nothing at all wrong with placebo effect. If you feel better, great. But whenever this comes up, I guess because the US is a largely Christian country, we get all the parochial Christian stuff about how they're better than everyone else because their saved and nobody else is. This doesn't help people who are suffering from depression or any other ailment, believe fervently in God, and still don't get better. It just makes them feel God must hate them for something. And, you know, the therapy we use for these conditions comes in great part from Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism -- the breathing techniques, meditation, visualization, stretching, all the things therapists use to help people deal come from these traditions, two of which don't believe in a deity. Now everyone's entitled to their own beliefs and to say what they want, but consider the effect of proselytizing on a site where people are genuinely suffering and probably have very deep beliefs that haven't helped. As I say, there are plenty of places on this website where these things are better discussed. Just my opinion.
Perhaps we should start a site for religion...I like discussions of of spirituality, faith and trust in the Lord and if someone doesn't want to participate, than that is their choice. I am not aware if there is a spiritual section on this site but I certainly intend to start one.
Thank you for caring so much for the needs of others.
I guess I do take for granted at times my hope and encourgement I find in loving God, and knowing he loved a very sinful, and messed up mentally and physically person like me.
I know that I am no better of a person than anyone else, I'm so sorry If i came off that why to anyone that read this. Please forgive me. I would never want to make anyone feel hurt and asume that because one is depressed and suffering that God must hate them hate them . I was meaning to state that God has truly helped me in all this, even though I still struggle with a lot , God is there for me. I have hope in that one day all this will go away. When one has good news , or something that works and you get so excited about it, and you know the pain that is in the depressed and suffering you feel so strongly about sharing it.
You are correct in saying that not everyone finds this to be an easy concept , and that It will help everyone. I know people have been hurt my religious things, an d it hurts when God doesn't make sense, when it seems that God doesn't answer prayers, that all believe in different things and different gods.
perhaps, one that one person may find peace in their strom of pain in the God of the Bible, and that would all be worth this poll, or survey. But next week it may be someone else with a helpful tool or belief for the other person.
We are all on this site because we can learn from each other, and offer help to each other , I have seen alot of your post, I know you help people and you seem very smart, and give alot of good advise, please forgive me if I affended you or anyone else
I know i do get carried away a little about God, I have never felt a love so strong in as knowing that Jesus gave up His life in heaven and came down to people that cursed him, spit on Him, lyied on Him, beat Him, and hung Him on a Cross, and He with all His power He could have used to save Himself, and yet He Loved me enough to die for my sins. I have been forgiven. God can only look upon me because of the love and blood of Jesus Christ, there is no good in me to save myself. I have no hope apart from Jesus.
As I said, God loves us ...........and wants us He does not hate us. He sent His only Son for us that is the proof. This is my belief. I desire it to help one , never hurt one or make any one feel, I am better than anyone else. I know that I am not.
I know this topic is controversial and often offensive to some, but I cannot read all of these posts and not speak on it. I just have one thing to say.... GOD IS GOOD. He loves us all the time, unconditionally, with an everlasting love and He would never want harm to come upon us. When we suffer, it is not because of God in Heaven, it is because of the god of this world (Satan) who wants nothing more than to make our lives miserable. I could elaborate but I won't. I just want everyone to know that JESUS, my God, loves you....it may sound childish, naive, and completely unintellectual....but it's 100% true.
Once we realize this deep in our heart, we know that there is HOPE and that we are worthy, redeemable, forgiven, cherished, and that we have value/purpose. God is the only reason I'm not dead today. And I am eternally greatful for His love....now it's my turn to pass it on to others.
Please don't judge a religion by it's people, because no one is perfect. But God IS... and HE IS LOVE. Other's may judge you, but God loves you right where you are.
It was never my intent to offend someone but I also have a right to voice my belief and what has helped me to make it thru this life, what gives me hope and comfort. I commend everyone that stands up to their personal belief. I also am a Christian. I will never deny my belief in God. I cannot convert you or change your personal belief but if someone is seeking and in doubt perhaps the Lord will work thru me someway to help them find him. A person must ask and desire God to come into your life. God will knock on the door to your heart but it is up to each one of us to open that door. This is my belief and God has helped me numerous times and has answered my prayers many times; he doesn't have to prove his existance to me, I have seen his work many times. It's all about faith.
I hope I have not offended anyone. Thank you.
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