Atheism and mental illness

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The prestigious Mayo Clinic found that that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.[1]

Atheism and mental illness is an increasingly important topic of study in light of the growing list of atheist shooters and serial killers.

The abstract for the journal article Health and Well-Being Among the Non-religious: Atheists, Agnostics, and No Preference Compared with Religious Group Members published in the Journal of Religion and Health indicates: "On dimensions related to psychological well-being, atheists and agnostics tended to have worse outcomes than either those with religious affiliation or those with no religious preference."[2]

Global News reported:

Children who are raised with religious or spiritual beliefs tend to have better mental health into their adulthood, a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found.

According to the study’s findings, people who attended weekly religious services or prayed or meditated daily in their childhood reported greater life satisfaction in their 20s. People who grew up in a religious household also reported fewer symptoms of depression and lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder.[3]

Atheists and negative emotions/thoughts:

Atheism and depression

See also: Atheism and depression and Atheism and loneliness

Atheists have a higher suicide rate than theists.[4] Please see: Atheism and suicide

Concerning atheism and depression, a University of Michigan study involving 19,775 individuals found that religious people are less likely than atheists to suffer depression when they are lonely.[5] See also: Atheism and suicide

The Telegraph reported: "Patients with a strong “intrinsic faith” (a deep personal belief, not just a social inclination to go to a place of worship) recover 70 per cent faster from depression than those who are not deeply religious."[6]

In addition, in many atheistic cultures in the developed world, there are considerable problems with loneliness (see: Atheism and loneliness). Furthermore, many atheists feel isolated within theistic cultures (see: Atheism and social outcasts).

Atheism and suicide

See also: Atheism and suicide

The journal article A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide, published in the academic journal Suicidologi, found that "At 25.6, the total suicide rate is markedly highest in Atheist countries (e.g. China) which included in this analysis countries where religious observances had been prohibited for a long period of time (e.g. Albania)."[7]

Atheism and narcissism

See: Atheism and narcissism

Atheism and psychopathy

See also: Atheism and psychopathy and Atheism and sociopathy

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade in prison, 18th century line engraving. See: Atheism and sadism

Psychopathy is strongly correlated with crime, violence, and antisocial behavior.[8][9] See also: Irreligion, psychopathy, crime, violence and antisocial behavior

A psychopath is someone with an anti-social personality disorder characterized by violent, perverted or immoral behavior often leading to criminality. Psychopaths have little or no concern for other people. Some psychopaths equate love with sexual arousal.[10]A few studies have found that there is a positive correlation of atheism and psychopathy (see: Atheism and psychopathy.

Atheism, autism, schizophrenia and genetic mutations

See also: Atheists and genetic mutations

Left-handedness is a good indicator of a high mutational load.[11] People who are left-handed higher incidences of autism and schizophrenia.[12] A study found that atheists are more likely to be left-handed (see: Atheists and genetic mutations).[13][14]

For additional information, please see:

Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

See: Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

Lack of significant resources applied to the issue of atheism and mental health

See also: Causes of atheism and Causes of desecularization

Rob Whitney, PhD wrote in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry:

The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health.

I argue that atheism, especially positive atheism, should be treated as a meaningful sociocultural variable in the study of mental health. I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health. Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.[15]

At the atheist conference Skepticon 7, Dr. Melanie Brewster (who is an atheist herself) gave a talk entitled Why is Psychology Silent When it Comes to Atheism? in which she indicated that significant resources have not been devoted to studying the issue atheism and mental health (especially when compared to the effects of religion upon mental health)[16] Dr. Brewster said there is a unofficial taboo among psychologists about psychologists studying the effect of atheism upon individuals.[17] In America Brewster attributed part of this taboo is related to negative views that Americans have toward atheists (see: Views on atheists and Distrust of atheists).[18]

See also

References

  1. Mueller, Dr. Paul S. et al. (December 2001). "Religious involvement, spirituality, and medicine: implications for clinical practice". Mayo Clinic Proceedings vol. 76:12, pp. 1225-1235. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic Proceedings website on July 20, 2014.
  2. Health and Well-Being Among the Non-religious: Atheists, Agnostics, and No Preference Compared with Religious Group Members by Hayward RD, Krause N, Ironson G, Hill PC, Emmons R., Journal of Religion and Health, 2016 Jun;55(3):1024-1037. doi: 10.1007/s10943-015-0179-2.
  3. Religion can help improve children’s mental health, new study finds, Global News, 2018
  4. Adherents.com - suicide rates
  5. Lonely religious people are less depressed than atheists because they see God as a friend replacement, study finds, Daily Mail, 2018
  6. What God does to your brain by Julia Llewellyn Smith. The Telegraph, 20 Jun 2014
  7. José Maoel Bertolote, Alexandra Fleischmann (2002). "A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide". Suicidologi 7 (2). https://www.iasp.info/pdf/papers/Bertolote.pdf. 
  8. (2005) Handbook of Psychopathy. Guilford Press, 440–3. 
  9. Coid, Jeremy; Yang, Min; Ullrich, Simone; Roberts, Amanda; Moran, Paul; Bebbington, Paul; Brugha, Traolach; Jenkins, Rachel et al. (May 2009). [Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales "Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales"]. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (Elsevier Ltd) 32 (3): 134–41. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2009.02.008. PMID 19345418. Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  10. Robert D. Hare (2011). Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us. Guilford Press, 52. ISBN 978-16062-35782. 
  11. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE LIVE HEALTHIER, LONGER LIVES—WHILE ATHEISTS COLLECT MUTANT GENES, Newsweek, 2017
  12. Atheists are more likely to be left handed, study finds, The Telegraph, 2017
  13. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE LIVE HEALTHIER, LONGER LIVES—WHILE ATHEISTS COLLECT MUTANT GENES, Newsweek, 2017
  14. Atheists are more likely to be left handed, study finds, The Telegraph, 2017
  15. Atheism and Mental Health, Rob Whitley , PhD, Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Volume 18, 2010 - Issue 3
  16. Why is Psychology Silent When it Comes to Atheism? - Dr. Melanie Brewster - Skepticon 7
  17. Why is Psychology Silent When it Comes to Atheism? - Dr. Melanie Brewster - Skepticon 7
  18. Why is Psychology Silent When it Comes to Atheism? - Dr. Melanie Brewster - Skepticon 7

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