Faith or Delusion? At the Crossroads of Religion and Psychosis

  title={Faith or Delusion? At the Crossroads of Religion and Psychosis},
  author={Joseph M. Pierre},
  journal={Journal of Psychiatric Practice},
  • J. M. Pierre
  • Published 1 May 2001
  • Psychology
  • Journal of Psychiatric Practice
In clinical practice, no clear guidelines exist to distinguish between “normal” religious beliefs and “pathological” religious delusions. Historically, psychiatrists such as Freud have suggested that all religious beliefs are delusional, while the current DSM-IV definition of delusion exempts religious doctrine from pathology altogether. From an individual standpoint, a dimensional approach to delusional thinking (emphasizing conviction, preoccupation, and extension rather than content) may be… 

[Between faith and delusion].

  • J. RosenleitnerH. Rittmannsberger
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Neuropsychiatrie : Klinik, Diagnostik, Therapie und Rehabilitation : Organ der Gesellschaft Osterreichischer Nervenarzte und Psychiater
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A diagnostic model for delusion is presented, which is easy to handle in the daily routine of psychiatrists and which acknowledges that reality cannot be examined with scientific methods/criteria and that the assessment of reality itself underlies historical and cultural fluctuations.

Delusion, possession and religion†

Both mental health professionals and religious believers may require criteria to distinguish adaptive and maladaptive expressions of religious experience.

Forensic Psychiatry versus the Varieties of Delusion-Like Belief

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  • Psychology
    The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
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Dimensional quantification of belief conviction and preoccupation as well as established concepts like conspiracy theories and sacred values can help forensic evaluators characterize ideological motives for deviant behavior more accurately to better inform legal decisions about criminal responsibility and therapeutic justice.

Religion, spirituality and psychotic disorders

Background: Religion is often included in the beliefs and experiences of psychotic patients, and therefore becomes the target of psychiatric interventions. Objectives: This article examines religious

Religião, espiritualidade e transtornos psicóticos Religion, spirituality and psychotic disorders

While about one-third of psychoses have religious delusions, not all religious experiences are psychotic and may even have positive effects on the course of severe mental illness, forcing clinicians to make a decision on whether to treat religious beliefs and discourage religious experiences, or to support them.

Culturally Confounded Diagnostic Dilemmas: When Religion and Psychosis Intersect.

This case was originally presented as a live video case conference held between UMass Memorial Medical Center (Worcester, Massachusetts) and Shanghai Mental Health Center (Shanghai, China) where the patient’s primary care physician, psychiatric consultants, neuropsychiatric consultant, visiting psychiatrist from China, and participants in the video conference all had Chinese backgrounds or interests.

The Interface Between Religion and Psychosis

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    Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
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The interface between religion and psychosis is explored, and its relevance in clinical practice is commented on, with strong arguments for the involvement of temporolimbic instability in the generation of religious psychotic symptoms.

Religion and delusion.

Religiousness/Spirituality and Schizophrenia: Implications for Treatment and Community Support

Previous research into psychosis as it relates to religion or spirituality has focused on the phenomenon of religious delusion. Due to the prevalence of religious material in delusional systems, some

Integrating Non-Psychiatric Models of Delusion-Like Beliefs into Forensic Psychiatric Assessment

  • J. M. Pierre
  • Psychology
    The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
  • 2019
To place DLBs into a forensically relevant framework, psychiatric expert witnesses should adopt a broad biopsychosocial understanding of belief formation and maintenance that integrates clinical expertise with knowledge about dimensional aspects of delusions, cognitive biases, and the processing of online misinformation.



Delusional ideation in religious and psychotic populations.

These findings provide further support for the notion of a continuum between normality and psychosis and for the necessity to consider the multidimensionality of delusional beliefs.

Toward a More Culturally Sensitive DSM‐IV: Psychoreligious and Psychospiritual Problems

A new Z Code (formerly V Code) diagnostic category is proposed for DSM-IV: psychoreligious or psychospiritual problem, which would improve diagnostic assessments when religious and spiritual issues are involved and reduce iatrogenic harm from misdiagnosis.

Delusion, the overvalued idea and religious beliefs: A comparative analysis of their characteristics

A wider range of characteristics is required to define all the differences between delusion and the overvalued idea, and these have implications for belief modification programmes.

Why do psychiatrists neglect religion?

This paper analyses a number of possible reasons why modern psychiatry has neglected the therapeutic effects of religious beliefs and the psychology of religion has provided empirical support for this idea.

Magico-religious beliefs and psychosis.

In a sample of 80 mothers of psychotic patients from southwestern Greece, 85% entertained strong metaphysical beliefs of a magico-religious nature concerning the cause of psychotic illness, suggesting that awareness of lay beliefs about psychosis and the proper handling of such beliefs by the treating psychiatrist may facilitate cooperation with the patient and his family.

What is a delusion? Epistemological dimensions.

The authors argue that delusions are protected beliefs made unfalsifiable either in principle or because the agent refuses to admit anything as a potential falsifier.

Spiritual Experience and Psychopathology

A recent study of the relationship between spiritual experience and psychopathology (reported in detail elsewhere) suggested that psychotic phenomena could occur in the context of spiritual

Belief in demons and exorcism in psychiatric patients in Switzerland.

  • S. Pfeifer
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The British journal of medical psychology
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Although many patients subjectively experienced the rituals as positive, outcome in psychiatric symptomatology was not improved and negative outcome, such as psychotic decompensation, is associated with the exclusion of medical treatment and coercive forms of exorcism.

Authentic religious experience or insanity?

The results indicated that the determining factor in the ratings was not dimensions of religious experience, but the degree that the experience deviated from conventional religious beliefs and practices.

On defining delusions.