Religious treatments for drug addiction: An exploratory study in Brazil

Religious treatments for drug addiction: An exploratory study in Brazil

Author van der Meer Sanchez, Zila Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Nappo, Solange A. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Abstract The main objective of the present work is to understand the processes used in emerging Catholic and Protestant religious interventions for recovery from drug dependence, from the vantage point of individuals subjected to them. A qualitative method and an intentional sample selected by criteria were adopted for this investigation, which was conducted in São Paulo, Brazil. An in-depth semi-structured interview was conducted with 57 predominantly male former drug users who fit the criteria: they had been submitted to non-medical religious treatments to treat dependence and were abstinent for at least 6 months. Crisis was found to be the main reason leading interviewees to seek treatment; this includes, losing family, losing employment, and experiencing severe humiliation. Evangelicals most used religious resources exclusively as treatment, showing strong aversion to the role of doctors and to any type of pharmacological treatment. A common feature of Catholic and Protestant groups is the importance ascribed to praying and talking to God, described by Subjects as strongly anxiolytic, and a means to control drug craving. Confession and forgiveness, through faith conversion or penitences, respectively, appeal strongly to the restructuring of life and increase of self-esteem. Religious interventions were considered effective by the individuals who underwent them and were seen as attractive for the humane, respectful treatment they delivered. the key aspects of this type of treatment are social support provided by the receiving group, equal treatment, and instant, judgment-free acceptance. the success of these actions, then, is not only due to some supernatural aspect, as might be assumed, but also more to the unconditional dedication of human beings to their peers. Given the difficulty in treating drug dependence, religious interventions could be used as a complementary treatment for conventional therapies. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords drug dependence
qualitative method
interpersonal relationships
treatment for addiction
Language English
Date 2008-08-01
Published in Social Science & Medicine. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 67, n. 4, p. 638-646, 2008.
ISSN 0277-9536 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Extent 638-646
Access rights Closed access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000259060600016

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