The healing power of spirituality and religion may be helpful as we manage the symptoms of bipolar and depression. Here are some compelling reasons why:
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 (published in 2013 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.
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.”
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