Schizophrenics with religious delusions may have more in common with the rest of us than we think. When it comes to "mystical" experiences, similar brain areas are activated for both healthy people, and for those living with the disease.
Perhaps one major difference is a schizophrenic's inability to return from that feeling of being at one with a greater power. Non-schizophrenics are able to return to the reality of the moment.
New research also shows that spirituality and religion — now rarely used in treatment — may be therapeutic for schizophrenics. Those living with other illnesses often turn to prayer for a sense of comfort, or to find meaning in their suffering.
But because religious delusions are often a part of schizophrenia, clinicians feel it may be counterproductive to talk about religion in treatment.
Still, many schizophrenics say religion and spirituality are very important to them, and that they wish it could be integrated into their care.