Astonishing statistics from the World Health Organization claim that approximately 450 million people, worldwide, are reported to have one type of psychiatric disorder or another (2005). Further, neuropsychiatric disorders account for 13% of all Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost due to diseases. Psychiatric disorders form 50% of the leading causes of disability and early or premature death, worldwide. In the United States, the CDC claims that 25% of the adult population have a mental illness. Historically, determinants of psychiatric disorders have been limited to biological, psychological, socioeconomic factors; and even interaction among them. But one more factor has been added to the list of determinants; spirituality. When evaluating a patient with mental illness, psychiatrists at the Patron of the Royal College of Psychiatrists are now taking into account the patient’s spiritual experiences for etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, and planning the treatment regimen for the disorder. This is predicated upon the premise espoused by Murray and Zentner that in every human being there exists a spiritual dimension…which searches for answers about the infinite. This search becomes more acute during times of emotional distress (Culliford, 2002). A survey of nurses revealed that meeting patients’ spiritual needs is correlated with overall positive health outcomes.
In an era saturated with unmitigated skepticism about the metaphysical and the spiritual it is fascinating to discover that physicians are retracing their steps and are re-establishing the relevance and role played by spiritual beliefs in their treatment options. The spirituality of an individual empowers them to find meaning and peace-it places them back into the hands that created them (which is the best place to be at any time). This usually results in improved outcomes. Peace is a critical ingredient in making crucial medical decisions and in emotional stability and well-being. Deeply religious patients often find meaning and hope even in their illness, which dispels any form of dysfunctional beliefs about their illness. When Jesus healed people He made them whole. He still works to under gird the healing process with His eternal power (if given a chance). Severing the spiritual aspect of the patient from their treatment regimen leaves a vital facet of their life vulnerable, unhealed and susceptible to recurrence of the illness.Learn more about this from the book, The Perfect Prescription.