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Chapter 9 - Common Mental Disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2022

Christopher C. H. Cook
Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Andrew Powell
Formerly Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford
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This chapter focuses on religious and spiritual aspects of anxiety and depression. It begins by examining acedia, before moving on to critically reviewing studies on religiosity both in the religious and among atheists. It then considers the relationship between depression and the ‘Dark Night of the soul’. It appraises studies of the prevalence of anxiety in religious groups, with a focus on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although spirituality/religion can have a positive impact on the experience of depression and anxiety, they can also have negative effects, and these are documented. The authors move away from the predominant focus on Christianity in the literature to discuss common mental disorders in relation to Judaism and Islam. Finally, the parallels between spiritual direction and psychotherapy are examined.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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