1887
Volume 2019, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426

Abstract

Due to lack of education and awareness, faith healing has become a popular way of treating psychiatric patients. To ascertain the role of faith healers in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses by exploring the percentage of patients attending those healers. A semi-structured questionnaire was applied through a direct face-to-face interview with the patients and their companions; it inquired whether the patient has ever visited faith healers, the method of treatment the patients were subjected to, and their opinion about the benefit they got regarding improvement in their condition. Among the total 482 cases; 279 (57%) reported going to faith healers (FHs) at any time before, during, or after a psychiatric consultation. Of those, 84.6% reported visiting FHs less than 10 times, while 15.4% went 10 times or more; 36.9% still believe that the treatment of FHs is accepted or even good (21.5%), while 30.9% realized that it is useless, and 10.7% think it is bad. No association was found between going to FHs and patient age or gender, while there was a significant association with marital status (p < 0.02) and with education (p < 0.001). Patients with schizophrenia/psychosis or bipolar disorders visited FHs significantly more often than those with other diagnoses. Faith healing is prevalent in Iraq and FHs may overwhelm the role of psychiatrists in treating mental illnesses. Sincere efforts are needed to help build public awareness and to improve accessibility and utilization of mental health services for this vulnerable group.

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2019-11-29
2020-09-21
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): faith , healers , Iraq and psychiatrists
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