Role of Islam in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders

By Sabry, Walaa; Vohra, Adarsh | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Role of Islam in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders


Sabry, Walaa, Vohra, Adarsh, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: Walaa. Sabry, Adarsh. Vohra

With the significant growth of the Muslim population all over the world, there exists a corresponding increase in the need for mental health services that suit this group of patients. Research demonstrates the effectiveness of the integration of spirituality and religiosity into psychotherapy and how religious beliefs could affect the management plans. This article discusses the impact of various beliefs in the Islamic faith on the bio-psychosocial model for the management of different psychiatric disorders including focusing on the modification of psychotherapeutic techniques as cognitive restructuring. It also shows other types of therapies such as music therapy, meditation therapy, and aromatherapy. The main emphasis remains to ensure that Muslim psychiatric patients get ethical, acceptable, and effective treatment.

Introduction

Islam is a monotheistic religion based on revelations to the Prophet Muhammad 1400 years ago, which were recorded in the sacred Quran (Koran). The word Islam in Arabic means "submission," reflecting the central core of Islam, which is the submission to the will of God. According to the statistics from new population projections by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life , there are 1.65 billion Muslims worldwide and it is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, to reach 2.2 billion by 2030; making Islam the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. [sup][1]

Islam provides Muslims with a code of behavior, ethics, and social values, which helps them in tolerating and developing adaptive coping strategies to deal with stressful life events. Islam teaches how to live in harmony with others "Seek the life to come by means of what God granted you, but do not neglect your rightful share in this world. Do good to others as God has done good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for God does not love those who do this" (Quran , 28:77).

In Islam Sharia means 'the path' and it refers to the path that Muslims should follow in their life. It provides the guidelines and requirements for two types of interactions: Those between humans and God (worship); and those between humans to humans (social transactions). The main sources of Sharia are the Holy Quran and Sunna.

The Quran describes the way in which Allah should be worshipped. The Sunna includes all the known sayings, advices, and actions of Prophet Mohammed, his decisions, and his responses to life situations and to philosophical and legal questions, which usually derived from what's called Hadith.

According to attachment theory by John Bowlby, [sup][2] we know that having a secure attachment has been linked to the over-all wellbeing, coping, better mental health outcomes, enhanced self-esteem, and stronger relationship functioning. Thus, having a "healthy attachment" to God would also be linked to better psychological functioning: "… And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him…" [Quran, 65:3].

Despite the growing size of the Islamic community in the western countries, most western practitioners appear not to have been very well exposed to Islamic values and teachings during their educational careers. [sup] [ 3],[4]

Researchers found that many Muslims are hesitant to seek help from the mental health professionals in Western countries [sup][5],[6],[7] due to the differences in their beliefs and lack of understating of the helping professionals about Islamic values in their treatment modalities. Consequently, Muslims might feel uncomfortable in seeking psychiatric help to avoid being in conflict with their religious beliefs.

The aim of this review article is to highlight the role of Islam in the management of different psychiatric disorders; and provide psychiatrists especially those working in Western countries with Muslim patients or Western psychiatrists travelling to Islamic countries or to those who are not familiar with Islamic values with therapeutic modalities that are congruent with Islamic values. …

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