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Religion Can Help You Overcome Mental Illness And/Or Substance Addiction. However...


Registered Member
When I attended community college back in the day, I took a course in substance abuse/addiction.

The instructor of the class said that many alcoholics and drug addicts find religion as something that's helpful to them in overcoming substance addiction.

However, he said that if they are religious, their religion must be combined with professional psychiatric treatment in order for them to overcome it.

But can those who don't have substance addiction issues but do have mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc, overcome mental illness with religion alone?

Maybe some can (although those who are out of touch with reality can't). But I think it's better if it's combined with psychiatric treatment.

Not all who have mental illness are religious, of course. However, if you are a religious person and if you have mental illness, religion can help you overcome it. It really can.

But I think you're more likely to overcome mental illness if you combine it with psychiatric treatment.
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Embrace the Suck
Anyone who suffers from any of those should get professional help. Can they overcome those things with religion alone? That’s way too broad. I have found my faith to be an incredibly positive thing in my life. It’s gotten me through some bad times. But I would never tell anyone “just pray about it” as the solution for any of those conditions, and I don’t believe it’s something that is necessary. I would argue it helps, but not necessary.


Well-Known Member
I think a healthy mix of both psychiatric and religious help is best. Preferably from the same party if possible. One of the biggest issues I have with most psychologists/psychiatrists is that they are either discouraged from talking about religion or they simply aren't allowed to (government employees are a primary example here.)

I know several people that have overcome some very serious addictions (such as heroin and sex addictions) by encountering God. No psychiatric help at all for them, just religious help/revelation.

That being said, I still personally believe the best is a mixture of spiritual help/guidance, and psychiatric care. The reality is that everyone is different and no issue is as simple as it appears on the surface. I literally don't know anyone that's truly gotten over anything big without at least some spiritual guidance though.


not a plastic bag
I believe only Christianity can answer life's toughest questions. Where did I come from? What happens after I die? What is my purpose? How do I absolve my guilt and shame? Does anyone truly love me and can I truly love?
Psychiatric is helpful but it can't answer those questions in a way that makes sense and has meaning. imo.


Free Spirit
Staff member
I think a mix of both would be most helpful. Like myself I have cancer and although I like being prayed for, it makes me feel good when I know people are, but I know I still need medical attention.


I'm serious
I'm not sure what you mean with "overcome". There certainly isn't a cure for mental illness. Mental illness is treated, not cured. It takes an armamentarium to treat mental illness, and if religion is part of that for someone, all the power to them. But definitely combine that with medication and professional psychology/psychiatry.
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Registered Member
I've known many former addicts and alcoholics who've overcome their addictions with just 12 step meetings without any psychiatric or psychological treatment. Also in 12 step programs one only needs a higher power which may or may not be religious. For most people it is an organized religion but I've seen many people recovering successfully without an organized religion or belief in a more traditional concept of "god".

I think that some mental illness issues might be helped with religion but some will require psychological or psychiatric assistance for resolution. Certain mental illness is related to brain chemistry and as a result requires medication that can only be provided by a psychiatrist.


not a plastic bag
I'm wondering what sort of exploration and investigation of other religions you've done to be able to make such a statement.
Christianity is the only one that addresses the true nature of who we are. That's the toughest question we all face.

We are all wretched and undeserving. If you volunteer 80 hours a week at the shelter and I go around killing pets, we are both the same in the sight of God. Filthy sinners. The guy that wrote much of the New testament said he was the chief of sinners.

We are nothing without a savior. Jesus.

There's a fascinating passage in the Bible that shows life of the new church. inside one building were Jews, Romans, slaves, slave owners, wealthy, poor, women... They were all equal in the church. Radical idea for that time. When you realize who we are, you see that we are all eual.

I've studied enough other religions to know that religions are always about how hard to I have to work to get to heaven? How good do I have to be? Christ is the only one that answers that. You'll never work hard enough or be good enough. You need a savior.


Registered Member
I've studied enough other religions to know that religions are always about how hard to I have to work to get to heaven?
Thanks, you seem satisfied that you've done enough evaluation and investigation. I was hoping to hear more about what you did to get there, was it a comparative religion course, did you read unbiased books comparing religions, etc.. but it isn't that important to me.