The Case For Faith In Helping Bipolar & Depression

Last Updated: 6 Aug 2018

The healing power of spirituality & religion may help people with bipolar disorder; here are some reasons why:

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Source of hope

According to psychiatrist Mario Cruz MD, the benefits of spiritual participation for those with bipolar can include: a supportive network of friends and acquaintances, financial and other types of practical support, reinforcement of the messages of many substance-abuse programs and uplifting messages that may help regulate emotions and provide a source of hope.


Higher quality of life

A study of 168 people with bipolar in 2013 (published in the journal Bipolar Disorders) found that those who report believing in a benevolent world and feeling a spiritual connection, have a higher quality of life and less depression.


Help for depression

Researchers looked at the association between mood and faith participation in more than 7,000 adults and found that those who prayed often or were “active in their faith communities” had less risk for depression over a two-year period. The results were published in a 2014 issue of The Gerontologist. Another study that reviewed existing research, and published in the Journal of Religion & Health (2013) found that people with depression received “particular benefit” from faith participation.


Quicker recovery

A 1998 study of 87 older adults suffering from depression, found that the rate with which those who recovered from depression the fastest corresponded to the extent of their religious belief.


More religion, less depression

According to Dr. Harold Koeng, founder of the Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality at Duke University, there have been about 1,200 studies on the healing power of faith and the health effects of spirituality. In 2002, he said, there were 116 depressed geriatric patients studied who received standard medication treatment. The recovered patients reported significantly more religious practices and greater positive religious coping than those who remained depressed.


Religion and health

As mentioned in a review of more than 100 studies published in the Handbook of Religion and Health (2001), two-thirds of those found people who have a relationship to religion have “less depression than those who are nonreligious and if they become depressed, they recover more quickly.”




  1. The moral standards of many religions can serve as a benchmark against which we become aware of our problem. I know of several people who having tried everything their religion prescribes and finding no way to reconcile their behavior with these expectations were forced to seek help in the form of a pill. Many people find that after getting proper medical treatment for their broken brains their souls also start to mend and they grow in their faith. Being a Christian myself I am duty bound to advocate faith in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nevertheless any objective and reasonable moral standard which can be testified to by others can help us see that our behavior is out of line, even if it feels oh so good in the moment.

  2. What do you recommend for atheist? Are we out of luck?

    1. I’m an atheist too, and no, we’re not out of luck at all. Look to the Natural World and Life itself for your faith and hope and recovery. I’m a gardener and it helps me enormously to be with my plants, to talk to them and appreciate their beauty. I also love being in nature, in the mountains, or the beach or anywhere like a park or a garden in the city. Being at one with nature is as significant as any religious philosophy or practice. It’s the Faith in Life that matters, not in some mystical god that doesn’t even exist! I also find faith in my fellow human beings. People can be so wonderful and can help you out of a deep depression or free you from a manic episode, as we all know. Why not look to them for your faith? Just being a good person can bring a bunch of good feelings to you. Try helping other people for instance and you’ll find you’re really helping yourself. The reality is that you can have faith in life – just look around and see that life goes on every day, regardless of how we feel or what we think. Who needs a god that no one has ever even seen or communicated with. (that means they talk back, not just that you talk to them). It’s all bunk. Try the Natural World for faith if you want solace. It is, after all, so much more concrete and REAL!! Have Faith in Life itself!! It rocks!

      1. If you really looked closely at the natural world you would realise that it could not all have just come about with God

      2. Without I mean lol

      3. An edit to the preceding post: I apologize for my comments that disparage belief in a god. I got carried away and I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t need to say it to support my premise and I’m sorry for offending those who do believe in a god. So please just read the rest and be heartened. It’s still true that we can simply have Faith in Life and be Happy!

  3. I go to a 12 step program (Al-anon). The spiritual help that I receive from my Higher Power and from other members of the program is invaluable in helping with my bipolar disorder. I also practice gratitude. The corner stones of my treatment of my own mood disorder are my faith in a Higher Power and gratitude. And my network of friends who feel the same way.

  4. Does anyone know how I can get financial help from any foundations to help me support my family while I wait for my disability appeal hearing? We are struggling with bills and social services is just not enough to make ends meet.

    1. My church was invaluable with helping me out financially during the time I applied for disability benefits and when I got them. I haven’t found any types of foundations that would help me financially. You might also try Lutheran Social Services if they are located near where you live.

    2. You should ask your shrink

  5. My Catholic Faith, has & continues to hold me together through 3 Psy hospital admits & 8mons. in Psy nursing home. For 12 years now I have lived in my apt. with the correct dosage of meds My faith, Prayers & Rosary I am also Agoraphobic so the Holy Trinity is who I speak to 24/7.

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