Spirituality and Psychosis

I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile. Is there a relationship between spirituality and psychosis? I’ve read and heard about the symptoms of spiritual experiences and psychotic experiences, and they are identical. Both hear voices, see patterns that aren’t there, and see apparitions, among other symptoms. Some people think an invisible mind is orchestrating events in their lives, and all the conclusions they reach are unscientific or illogical. What do you think?

 

Philosophicus

You havent defined let alone proven that spirituality even exists in the first place

This might help

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=s0101-60832007000700013&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

 

And this:

“Though some psychologists have characterized all or nearly all religion as delusion, others focus solely on a denial of any spiritual cause of symptoms exhibited by a patient and look for other answers relating to a chemical imbalance in the brain.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_delusion

In my opinion, spirituality and psychosis are closely related, especially when religion reaches extremes, but the editors of the DSM seem reluctant to say admit it.

 

Lois

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend who has a PhD in clinical psychology who has many years’ experience said this:

“Yes there is an overlap
“The crazies seem attracted to that religious nonsense and then go bizarre over it. Recall the fantasy-prone mind.
A lot of it is cultural. The GOD concept is drilled into us from childhood, even if we are raised nonreligious. If I become psychotically grandiose I may think god is speaking through me or—I am god! “

 

Lois

 

LoisL,

Thank you for the input, Lois. I’m going to read that article. It looks interesting already, and it’s based in psychiatry. That Wikipedia article on religious delusion was good; I agree with it. Your clinical psychologist friend is right, and I would add that not only does religion attract crazies but that religion can turn people crazy (psychotic or manic). Seeing and hearing about people in religious ecstasy sounds a lot like a psychotic manic state, and I don’t think there’s such a thing as a genuine spiritual experience, meaning that all of them are probably experiencing psychosis or mania

I read about the Jerusalem syndrome where people who go to Jerusalem sometimes experience psychotic episodes and think they are Jesus or pregnant with the son of God, among other delusions. The Israeli psychiatrists disparage these people as merely psychotic and not having genuine spiritual experiences, as if the people in the Bible like Jesus and Moses were not psychotic. I wish psychiatry would update its diagnostic criteria to include the truth about spirituality and psychosis, but political correctness gets in the way. I know that people don’t want to be offensive, and I don’t either. But it’s possible to tell the truth in a kind way. I’m open to the possibility that people are having genuine spiritual experiences, either with God or aliens or whatever, but I don’t know how to distinguish them from the false ones.

 

Philosophicus

I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile. Is there a relationship between spirituality and psychosis? I’ve read and heard about the symptoms of spiritual experiences and psychotic experiences, and they are identical. Both hear voices, see patterns that aren’t there, and see apparitions, among other symptoms. Some people think an invisible mind is orchestrating events in their lives, and all the conclusions they reach are unscientific or illogical. What do you think?
Not in a meaningful way.

Spiritual experiences run the gamut from banal feelings of togetherness to intense passion, but very little of it is clinically significant.

Sherlock, the point is how can a layman know the difference between psychosis and spirituality if they present identically? If someone is running at you with a knife, you won’t have time to wonder what the difference is. If someone is exhibiting signs of psychosis, I’m likely to remove myself from that person, no matter what the root of the behavior is. Do I need to be a psychiatrist to know who is exhibiting signs of psychosis and who is just being “spiritual”?

"...why would it be notable that they share symptoms?"
How the heck is it not notable?

Similarities can show connections. Seeing what things have in common is a pretty basic way of studying anything. Even if they aren’t connected, seeing how they differ is valuable knowledge towards understanding both.

Just because it might not sound nice to believers doesn’t mean we should stop research and discussion on it.

Spirituality (only in the religious sense, not our innate ability to feel awe) is learned. Psychosis is internally generated.

So I’m thinking they could be separate but linked, due to the fact that some people use their learned religious ideas to do or say things that others consider psychotic.

My friends speak in tongues at their church, which I consider psychotic. This behavior would not exist without religion, so although my friends act psychotically, it is only due to religion.

The tricky part is that my friends are merely acting as though what they believe is true, which is totally sane (who doesn’t act like their beliefs are true?) So are they really acting psychotically?

 

For what it’s worth, decades ago in my hitch-hiking days, the scariest ride I ever got was from a guy who started preaching to me until the foam was spitting from his mouth. It was one of those STOP! Let me out NOW - In fact might have had to bare my teeth a little and show him a peek at my nasty side - before the very scary man acquiesced and stopped and let me back out into freedom.

(Only two other times did I have to demand to be let out, but they were both benign crazies that were simply looking for company and driving around having fun, rather than heading the down the highway and making time, which is where my mind was at.)

 

 

I think the Jerusalem effect is because practically everyone has heard about it as a significant spiritual site, if you knew nothing about it I doubt it would have said effects.