Friday, January 04, 2008

Psychiatrists and religion

Historically there has often been tension between psychiatry and religion. Freud equated religion with neurosis and even called it an enemy while DSM-III was also criticized as portraying religion negatively. Several studies of psychiatrists' religious characteristics have indicated that psychiatrists are measurably less religious than the general population, their patients and other physicians. However, studies of the health effects of religion and spirituality have linked it to reduced depression and anxiety, increased longevity and other physical and psychological health benefits. A survey of 1,144 psychiatrists and physicians in the U.S. found that although psychiatrists were less religious than other doctors they generally endorsed the positive influences of religion on health. They were more likely to be aware of the negative impact of religion but they were also more likely to encounter religious issues in clinical settings and were more open to addressing religious issues with patients.

Curlin, Farr A. ... [et al] - Religion, spirituality, and medicine : psychiatrists' and other physicians' differing observations, interpretations, and clinical approaches American Journal of Psychiatry December 2007, 164(12), 1825-1831

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