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6th International Congress of the WIAMH

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 13-15, 1999.

RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY AND PSYCHIATRY

Muhammad Afzal JAVED

Consultant psychiatrist & senior lecturer, University of Warwick the Medical Centre Manor Court Avenue, Nuneaton CV11 5HX, United Kingdom

Recent psychiatric literature suggests a need to reconsider the place of religion and spirituality in Psychiatry. Despite the secularising influence of modern society, the presence of religiosity remains substantial and reports suggest the positive impact of religious beliefs and practices on day to day functioning and mental well being. It has also been well documented that the religious dimensions are amongst the most important factors that structure human experience, values, behaviour and illness pattern. This paper discusses the conceptual issues about this topic and addresses the needs to review the role of religion in mental health. A brief account is given about some studies looking at different aspects of this topic with future research directions. It is argued that there is a great need to acknowledge the role of religion and spirituality in understanding the aetiology, prognosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Similarly religion and psychiatry have a lot to say to each other and need to continue the dialogue to understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths for the betterment of the individual who is suffering.

Key Words: Religion - Mental Health - Treatment

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