What does this mean? Faith based recovery is usually thought of as one with belief in a higher power, although this may or may not mean a specific religion for many. Incorporating a spiritual, faith-based part into one’s recovery program will certainly help us get better results for our mental health clients. Depression is the most common mental health issue in America (probably globally), and certainly here in the US. It is very prevalent in substance use recovery as well.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, in his article entitled Can Faith in God Help Alleviate Depression certainly thinks so, citing a study conducted by McLean Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
Among the findings were a “lessening of depression, reductions in self-harm, and increases in psychological well-being (peace of mind, ability to have fun, general satisfaction).” In fact, “those whose belief in God was stronger, regardless of the god or religious affiliation (including non-affiliation), were twice as likely to respond well to the treatment and experience better outcomes.”
Wow – these are astoundingly positive and strong results! People in mental health treatment, especially for substance use, are also telling practitioners that they want more spirituality in treatment.
GoodTherapy.com says that “spiritual wellness can relate to religious belief. Some people link their spiritual wellness to the natural world. Others define it by their relationships to others. Still others may nurture spiritual wellness by living a fulfilling life according to their personal values.”
They also note that both religion and spirituality relate directly to mental health, in that “a sense of belonging and connection can help promote resilience and decrease risk for some mental health concerns.” Have you noticed that?
Regardless of how you feel about spirituality and faith, especially faith-based recovery, it appears to be a critically important part of any recovery program. In fact, most substance use recovery programs contain some level of spirituality in that they usually support 12-step meetings as part of the entire program.
There are other very important aspects of one’s recovery, as well, such as starting to look at the diets our clients are consuming, whether they are also consuming addictive and overly processed foods, etc. as this directly relates to our moods and this directly correlates with mental health symptoms.
Ask yourself what quality of life you want for yourself, your family and other loved ones. Add to this list your clients if you are a practitioner. Being open to sensing the potential role of spirituality or religion in a person’s life – even your own - can be a much-needed dimension in treatment or just normal living. Remember – we are complex and wonderful beings, so everyday living and treatment would be more effective if it reflected that.
If the answer to the question about satisfaction of your quality of life is something like it could stand some improvement, start to learn about what you can do now.
As always, I wish you a holistically happy and healthy day!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.