I've been a life long atheist who would like to know what 'symptoms,' 'side-effects' or 'issues' a person might experience when de-converting. If there is a discussion that already describes this please help me to find a link to it.

Although this should perhaps be a separate discussion, I would also like to know if the DSM-IV or DSM-V might deal with or consider something like this. Thanks!

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First, the DSM-V is not scheduled for release till 2012. I have a DSM-IV-TR, but I'm laid up with a badly injured ankle and I don't want to get up and go get it right now.....maybe I'll do it later.

However, I'm sure that the most common effect would be depression, and that would probably be tied to other things like problems from friends and family who are religious. I have a friend who de-converted several years ago, and his mother has only spoken with him twice since. His family basically disowning him did cause a lot of depression at first. That is a good example of the things that some people go through.

I personally grew up very religious, and wholeheartedly believed till my late teen years. And, in my case, believing that there was a god caused more depression than not. When I came to the logical conclusion that God did not exist, it was like a huge weight off of my shoulders. I felt a new sense of freedom and happiness that I never had before. However, I also that it's not like that for everyone.

You pose a good question though....I think that I'll have to pull out my DSM later and look for any other symptoms that may be applicable, other than depression......
Depression could be relevant, but if I was to see someone in practice presenting with concerns around this, I'd be far more likely to consider the V codes unless there had been an identifiable stressor that could justify an adjustment disorder.
When I began the "process" of de-converting, I felt like I was in some kind of identity crisis, I guess. My belief in God and strict adherence to my religion defined me for as long as I could remember and I was terrified at the thought of letting it go. I felt like I wouldn't know who I was without God. I'd been battling depression since my preteens and adding the stress of questioning my beliefs just magnified my unbalanced emotional state. The fear of hell scared me most of all. Once I actually came to grips with my atheism, a lot of the old fears left. I've still had to deal with depression, but now I understand that it's not evil spirits or demons that made me depressed and I'm on medication that has helped me immensely.
1- nihlism
2- resentment
3- contempt for people who are still believers
4- longing for ignorance
5- maturity
Hmm. Interesting thought. I have seen the results of this in various psychiatric hospitals which I have visited or worked in. It can be a truly disturbing experience for some. The worst hit seem to be the clergy. They probably have the most to lose.
The first symptom is almost always listening to a preacher and saying, "wait, what?"
Yeah, I remember that. It spoiled a lot of sermons :-) However it also protected me from being brain-damaged by the tongue twisters (charismatics).
Symptoms experienced when de-converting from theism... it would probably depend on the context.
for some euphoria
for some depression, guilt (transitional state due to loss of years, family, friends)
for anyone in a fundamentalist religion - physical threats/death

LOL re The DSM-IV - if there was a category related to anything religious, no doubt it would be religious psychosis. Religious psychosis would be in axis 1 - clinical disorders, as we wouldnt classify it as a personality or retardation factor (or could we?).

DSM-IV, axis 1: Religious psychosis
A psychotic condition whereby an individual exibits delusional schizophrenic-like symptoms accompanied by obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms. The condition markedly disrupts and effects all areas of the the life of the individual.
Symptoms include: talking to non-existant entities, irrational, delusional & supernatural belief systems, aggressive or condemnatory behaviours, disorganized speech (derailment, incoherence, chanting or gibberish speaking in 'tongues'). This may be accompanied by intrusive thoughts that compel behaviours (i.e. ritualistic prayers or confession) and the preoccupation with supernatural paraphernalia - ie. books, beads, holy water, crosses.

How many symptoms do you propose a person needs to have to qualify for the diagnosis?

Perhaps we should include a category for Sunday Believers: Encapsulated Religious Delusional Syndrome: another Axis I condition.

Symptoms include the ability to similtaneously hold religious and secular beliefs which are contradictory without significant feelings of distress. There is little or impingement on the ability to function adequately in one's professional capacity. Particularly common among some types of scientists.
LOL i especially agree re the simultaneous contradictory beliefs causing little distress.
Yes, subtypes should definitely be considered by the committee.
I was also thinking about how psychiatrists/psychologists would suggest the cause and treatment of these reglious conditions.
Rather than chemical imbalances etc, brainwashing would come into it and thus the condition would be due to a form of 'religious zealous contagiousness' which is interesting in itself.
How about genetic aberrations? Lack of "god spot", for example.
maybe, but then we'd have to account for the gene's disappearance once rationale kicked in. It would have to be a man-made/environmental syndrome.

I often think of the peter-pan syndrome as being very connected to religion. It is something that should be grown out of. A little like believing in santa when you should know better. (er.. except that it causes war and other serious stuff).

On that basis I think every court should firstly ban the bible-swearing rubbish and secondly disallow a person who still believes in fairy-tales to take the stand. Its just my opinion.

we have digressed--sorry Roo for taking things so off topic :)


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