Something Else To Think About
“A man in his late 20s with paranoid schizophrenia explained during a neurological evaluation that he could read minds and that for years he had heard voices revealing things about friends and strangers alike. He believed he was selected by God to provide guidance for mankind. Antipsychotic medications prescribed by his psychiatrists diminished these abilities and reduced the voices, and therefore he would not take them.
He asked, “How do you know the voices aren’t real?” “How do you know I am not The Messiah?” He affirmed, “God and angels talked to people in the Bible.
As many as 60% of those with schizophrenia have religious grandiose delusions consisting of believing they are a saint, God, the devil, a prophet, Jesus, or some other important person.” Source: The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences — The Role of Psychiatric Disorders in Religious History Considered
“Hyperreligiosity is a major feature of mania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, temporal-lobe epilepsy and related disorders, in which the ventromedial dopaminergic systems are highly activated and exaggerated attentional or goal-directed behavior toward extrapersonal space occurs.” Source: The Role of the Extrapersonal Brain Systems in Religious Activity – PubMed 16439158
“The religiosity of the epileptic has been recognized since the time of Esquirol and Morel. These, later French workers, have sought to explain the epileptics religiosity as being the result of his disability, social isolation and his enhanced need for the consolation of religion. A specific conversion experience after a fit was reported by Howden. The patient believed that he was in Heaven. He would appear to have been depersonalized, as it took three days for his body to be reunited with his soul. He maintained that God had sent it to him as a means of conversion, that he was now a new man, and had never before known what true peace was.
He assured me that he was a converted man and that he was convinced he would have no more fits. Howden also reported on John Engellerecht who, after many years of depression, attempted suicide and appeared to die. After visiting Hell and Heaven, he cast off his depression, and acquired a state of religious ecstasy accompanied by visual and auditory hallucinations.” Source: Sudden Religious Conversions In Temporal Lobe Epilepsy — Classics in Epilepsy & Behavior; Academic Press
“If an epileptic seizure is focused in a particular sweet spot in the temporal lobe, a person won´t have motor seizures, but instead something more subtle. The effect is something like a cognitive seizure, marked by changes of personality, hyperreligiosity (an obsession with religion and feelings of religious certainity), hypergraphia (extensive writing on a subject, usually about religion), the false sense of an external presence, and, often, the hearing voices that are attributed to a god. Some fraction of history´s prophets, martyrs, and leaders appear to have had temporal lobe epilepsy.
When the brain activity is kindled in the right spot, people hear voices. If a physician prescribes an anti-epileptic medication, the seizures go away and the voices disappear. Our reality depends on what our biology is up to.” David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
The authors have analyzed the religious figures Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and St. Paul from a behavioral, neurologic, and neuropsychiatric perspective to determine whether new insights can be achieved about the nature of their revelations. Analysis reveals that these individuals had experiences that resemble those now defined as psychotic symptoms, suggesting that their experiences may have been manifestations of primary or mood disorder-associated psychotic disorders. Source: The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences — The Role of Psychiatric Disorders in Religious History Considered
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Part 2 (6 minutes)
“Because of these affective, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms, patients with Complex Partial Seizures (a.k.a. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) are frequently misdiagnosed.” Source: A Complex Presentation of Complex Partial Seizures — Official Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry