Being spiritual rather than religious may seem to be correct in this age of liberal thinking but a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reveals that it may also increase the risk of suffering from mental illness.
Researchers at University College of London surveyed over 7,400 randomly selected men and women in England and found that roughly 35 percent described themselves as religious, 19 percent thought themselves to be spiritual and the remaining 46 percent said that they were neither spiritual nor religious.
The researchers found that people who viewed themselves as spiritual were 72 percent more likely to have some form of phobia and 50 percent more likely to display a generalized anxiety disorder. They also had a 37 percent greater risk of having a neurotic disorder and 77 percent more likely to be dependent on drugs.
"We conclude that there is increasing evidence that people who profess spiritual beliefs in the absence of a religious framework are more vulnerable to mental disorder. The nature of this association needs greater examination in qualitative and in prospective quantitative research", the researchers wrote in their report.