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September 2022

Confin Psychiatr. 1979 ; 22(1): 19-33.

Religious beliefs and psychiatric disorder in Sri Lanka.

Hoenig J, Wijesinghe C.

After a brief description of the popular beliefs on the causation of illness held in Sir Lanka, eight illustrative case histories are presented. Although the incidence of religious-supernatural contents of mental disorders has been decreasing in the West it is by no means rare. It does, however, occur mostly in psychotic illness, whereas in Sri Lanka it occurs with great frequency in both psychotic and neurotic conditions. The indigenous exorcistic methods of treatment will be more effective in some cases than in others and a careful diagnosis will provide indications as to the choice of treatment.

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