Recovery, Spirituality and Religiousness in SchizophreniaAuthor(s): Philippe Huguelet , Sylvia Mohr , Laurence Borras
Recovery is an important element in the care of patients with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Being a process rather than a goal, recovery involves taking into account patients’ preferences in terms of values and life goals. Data showing that religion and spirituality can be an important part of recovery have begun to appear in the literature. Indeed, religious coping appears to be important for patients with schizophrenia, not only as a way of coping with their disorder and other life issues, but also in terms of one’s identity and setting important life goals. By contrast, the deleterious influence of religion on positive symptoms may have been overestimated, as there is no evidence supporting this hypothesis. Even if a minority of patients experiences delusions with religious content, this does not appear to constitute, a fortiori, a negative issue, as qualitative research shows that this does not hinder patients from gaining some help from religion or spirituality. Psychiatrists should consider religion when treating patients with schizophrenia, first with a spiritual assessment. This leads to various issues such as mobilization (from a social and day-to-day living perspective), working on one’s identity, understanding spiritual crisis and others. Also, illness and treatment representations may be influenced by religion in various cultural backgrounds, which should be discussed with patients in order to improve adherence and, thus, foster recovery-oriented care.