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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2010 Jun;12(3):174-9. doi: 10.1007/s11920-010-0117-7.

Religion, spirituality, and psychosis.

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Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) School of Medicine, Research Center in Spirituality and Health at UFJF, Rua da Laguna 485/104, Juiz de Fora, MG 36015-230, Brazil.


This review discusses the relationships between religion, spirituality, and psychosis. Based on the DSM-IV, we comment on the concept of spiritual and religious problems, which, although they may seem to be psychotic episodes, are actually manifestations of nonpathological spiritual and religious experiences. Studies reporting that hallucinations also occur in the nonclinical population and thus are not exclusive to the diagnosed population are presented. Then, other studies pointing to the strong presence of religious content in psychotic patients are also presented. Finally, the criteria that could be used to make a differential diagnosis between healthy spiritual experiences and mental disorders of religious content are discussed. We conclude that the importance of this theme and the lack of quality investigations point to the necessity of further investigation.

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