Studies: Belief in God relieves depression?

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Moved from S&D.

From the link
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.
 
  • #3
arildno
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Ill give you another shocker:

Getting comfort from Mom&Dad relieves depression!!!
 
  • #4
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So would it be harmful for someone to try to tell "patients diagnosed with clinical depression",who are strong believers, that prayers are useless for there is no caring god ,and would convincing them that there is a caring god ,regardless if it is true or not, be useful?
 
  • #5
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So would it be harmful for someone to try to tell "patients diagnosed with clinical depression",who are strong believers, that prayers are useless for there is no caring god ,and would convincing them that there is a caring god ,regardless if it is true or not, be useful?
Neither would be useful.
 
  • #6
ZapperZ
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Why is this not any different than the placebo effect?

Zz.
 
  • #7
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So would it be harmful for someone to try to tell "patients diagnosed with clinical depression",who are strong believers, that prayers are useless for there is no caring god ,and would convincing them that there is a caring god ,regardless if it is true or not, be useful?
It has to do with the cognitive-emotional effects of the spiritual language and concepts. There are a lot of metaphors the make reference to ascent in one form or another (e.g. rising up, lifting spirits, higher love, higher power) as well as light, abundance, peace, joy, benevolence, comfort, etc. In other words, people saturate themselves with positive words, concepts, music, and other expressions AND they don't cynically or sarcastically overpower them with doubt; i.e. they use their faith to truly believe in the hope, etc. This can be difficult if they have to overcome a lot of cognitive realism or pessimism that convinces them that it's all nonsense.

Why is this not any different than the placebo effect?
It is the same as a placebo effect, but you have to recognize that people have to truly believe in the placebo for it to have that effect. If you just think of it as a sugar pill, it won't work.


how accurate is this? is it biased? if it is true then how strongly do you need to believe in god for this to apply?
You might not need to believe in God but once you try it and experience the results, there's a chance you'll get addicted as many people do and want to add God to your list of placebos that you truly believe in just for the (spiritual) effect. You may even start trying to go around spreading the word of hope, joy, and spiritual ascent and begin to see skeptics as people bent on imprisoning themselves and others in depression. It can be a very powerful placebo, if you let it, imo.
 
  • #9
ZapperZ
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It is the same as a placebo effect, but you have to recognize that people have to truly believe in the placebo for it to have that effect. If you just think of it as a sugar pill, it won't work.
If people know it is a sugar pill, it is no longer a placebo.

Zz.
 
  • #10
lisab
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If people know it is a sugar pill, it is no longer a placebo.

Zz.
Actually, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015591" [Broken], even if they know it's a sugar pill.
 
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  • #11
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If people know it is a sugar pill, it is no longer a placebo.

Zz.
I know a diabetic that would challenge you on this point.:smile: (sorry)
 
  • #12
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Actually, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015591" [Broken], even if they know it's a sugar pill.
Good point. And it's an important point because too many people are stuck in willful ignorance because they're afraid that they wouldn't be able to keep believing once they know the true reality behind the fantasy. Someone should rewrite the Wizard of Oz so they all go on believing after they discover the little man behind the curtain. In the case of religion, it would be discovering that human faith is the essence of God and not losing faith as a result. That would be true humanist religion, wouldn't it?
 
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  • #13
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This article seems to repeat a finding of a few investigations. The issue of course, is not whether there really is a caring God, just that someone has a belief in such a deity. In depression, hope is a significant factor in getting well anyway. If one has a belief that someone cares this may also influence the course of an illness that has significant cognitive factors such as negative thinking habits. One could, of course, hypothesize further: that, for a believer, a caring God may well have led one to that doctor and guided the discussion as to choice of treatment. Confidence in medication has been shown to influence effectiveness of opiates in a recent paper and depression is certainly painful!
As to bias, I am unsure what you are getting at. Unless you are suggesting that the researchers' personal beliefs influenced the subjects or that the tests used are culturally biased towards a belief in a concerned deity?
FWIW
 
  • #14
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Believing in God may help relieving depression, but that is not evidence that God exists.

Believing that your pets have psychic powers can relieve depression too.
 
  • #15
Dale
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Believing that your pets have psychic powers can relieve depression too.
Really? Do you have a reference for that? That would be an interesting study.
 
  • #16
It's also shown that compassion meditation negates brain activity patterns that express depressive symptomatology.

On this note it has also been shown that mindfulness meditation changes brain activity patterns and lowers cortisol levels but I digress.
 
  • #17
Evo
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It's also shown that compassion meditation negates brain activity patterns that express depressive symptomatology.

On this note it has also been shown that mindfulness meditation changes brain activity patterns and lowers cortisol levels but I digress.
Since this is a science forum, you do need to publish the scientific research that backs those claims. I know there is some evidence that people trained in meditation can reduce stress, but this would not be so unlike a religious person praying. For me a bugs bunny cartoon works, IMO. Basically, if it makes you feel better, less depressed, and more positive about your health, without being ingested, it's not bad.
 
  • #18
Since this is a science forum, you do need to publish the scientific research that backs those claims. I know there is some evidence that people trained in meditation can reduce stress, but this would not be so unlike a religious person praying. For me a bugs bunny cartoon works, IMO. Basically, if it makes you feel better, less depressed, and more positive about your health, without being ingested, it's not bad.
My bad:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12883106
(mindfulness)

http://www.physorg.com/news125767090.html
(compassion)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_30JzRGDHI&feature=channel_video_title
This is Matthieu Ricard, a scientist who is a monk (very interesting google youtube video) to anyone who is interested. He conducted research about compassion meditation and brain pattern activation; he presents his depression negation from compassion meditation data at 42:45.
 
  • #19
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I suppose that the response to jduster should be "Believing in God relieves depression because, as he exists, he intervenes in people's lives to help them". But I can't find a reference for that either Dalespam!
I do have loads of references for mindfulness EntropicLove!. Now, if mindfulness were not derived from Buddhist practice, we might be able to fabricate a chain from mindfulness to God and stay on topic. Oh well ....
 
  • #20
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I suppose that the response to jduster should be "Believing in God relieves depression because, as he exists, he intervenes in people's lives to help them". But I can't find a reference for that either Dalespam!
The study stated that the BELIEF in God relieves depression. There is no certain evidence that there is a God that exists in reality to relieve depression. Belief in God is solely a matter of taking a leap of faith as one cannot be completely sure if there is a God or no.
 
  • #21
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I think you missed the point.
But never mind, outside of our past conversation, you are correct, although we could debate the meaning of belief as over against faith. But I feel that we should then have to start another thread :eek:
 
  • #22
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My bad:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12883106
(mindfulness)

http://www.physorg.com/news125767090.html
(compassion)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_30JzRGDHI&feature=channel_video_title
This is Matthieu Ricard, a scientist who is a monk (very interesting google youtube video) to anyone who is interested. He conducted research about compassion meditation and brain pattern activation; he presents his depression negation from compassion meditation data at 42:45.
I found that interesting, thank you. I have, as I said, a number of references re mindfulness, and am starting to look at compassionate meditation re mental health (my field). There are a number of styles of prayer in christianity, other than the "help me dad" variety, so your quotes have relevance.
 
  • #23
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The study stated that the BELIEF in God relieves depression. There is no certain evidence that there is a God that exists in reality to relieve depression. Belief in God is solely a matter of taking a leap of faith as one cannot be completely sure if there is a God or no.
On a cloudy day, does it give you comfort to think of the sky as blue?
 
  • #24
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I go back and forth between being agnostic, and believing in a personal caring God, but one thing is for sure. Ever since I dropped atheism I have been a much happier person.
 
  • #25
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I go back and forth between being agnostic, and believing in a personal caring God, but one thing is for sure. Ever since I dropped atheism I have been a much happier person.
I have to concur. I went from christian and scientist to atheist and scientist; then agnostic and scientist. Then I retrained in social sciences and went from agnostic to buddhist and now a sort of sceptical panentheism. I can't seem to connect with a personal caring deity. Nevertheless, my experience has now aligned with my fuzzy logic and I am certainly more content, if deluded.
 

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