Hyperreligiosity is a psychiatric disturbance in which a person experiences intense religious beliefs or episodes that interfere with normal functioning. Hyperreligiosity generally includes abnormal beliefs and a focus on religious content or even atheistic content, which interferes with work and social functioning. Hyperreligiosity may occur in a variety of disorders including epilepsy, psychotic disorders and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Hyperreligiosity is a symptom of Geschwind syndrome, which is associated with temporal lobe epilepsy.
Signs and symptoms
Hyperreligiosity is characterized by an increased tendency to report supernatural or mystical experiences, spiritual delusions, rigid legalistic thoughts, and extravagant expression of piety. Hyperreligiosity may also include religious hallucinations. Hyperreligiosity can also be expressed as intense atheistic beliefs.
Pathophysiology and cause
Hyperreligiosity may be associated with epilepsy – in particular temporal lobe epilepsy involving complex partial seizures – mania, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, hallucinogen related psychosis and psychotic disorder. In persons with epilepsy episodic hyperreligosity may occur during seizures or postictally, but is usually a chronic personality feature that occurs interictally. Hyperreligiosity was associated in one small study with decreased right hippocampal volume. Increased activity in the left temporal regions has been associated with hyperreligiosity in psychotic disorders. Pharmacological evidence points towards dysfunction in the ventral dopaminergic pathway.
- Heilman, Kenneth M.; Valenstein, Edward (13 October 2011). Clinical Neuropsychology. Oxford University Press. p. 488. ISBN 9780195384871.
Studies that claim to show no difference in emotional makeup between temporal lobe and other epileptic patients (Guerrant et. al., 1962; Stevens, 1966) have been reinterpreted (Blumer, 1975) to indicate that there is, in fact, a difference: those with temporal lobe epilepsy are more likely to have more serious forms of emotional disturbance. This "typical personality" of temporal lobe epileptic patient has been described in roughly similar terms over many years (Blumer & Benson, 1975; Geschwind, 1975, 1977; Blumer, 1999; Devinsky & Schachter, 2009). These patients are said to have a deepening of emotions; they ascribe great significance to commonplace events. This can be manifested as a tendency to take a cosmic view; hyperreligiosity (or intensely professed atheism) is said to be common.
- Tucker, D. M.; Novelly, R. A.; Walker, P. J. (1 March 1987). "Hyperreligiosity in temporal lobe epilepsy: redefining the relationship". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 175 (3): 181–184. doi:10.1097/00005053-198703000-00010. ISSN 0022-3018. PMID 3819715.
- Ogata, Akira; Miyakawa, Taihei (1 May 1998). "Religious experiences in epileptic patients with a focus on ictus-related episodes". Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 52 (3): 321–325. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1819.1998.00397.x. ISSN 1440-1819. PMID 9681585.
- Chan, Dennis; Anderson, Valerie; Pijnenburg, Yolande; Whitwell, Jennifer; Barnes, Jo; Scahill, Rachael; Stevens, John M.; Barkhof, Frederik; Scheltens, Philip; Rossor, Martin N.; Fox, Nick C. (1 May 2009). "The clinical profile of right temporal lobe atrophy". Brain. 132 (Pt 5): 1287–1298. doi:10.1093/brain/awp037. ISSN 1460-2156. PMID 19297506.
- Wuerfel, J.; Krishnamoorthy, E. S.; Brown, R. J.; Lemieux, L.; Koepp, M.; Elst, L. Tebartz van; Trimble, M. R. (1 April 2004). "Religiosity is associated with hippocampal but not amygdala volumes in patients with refractory epilepsy". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 75 (4): 640–642. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.06973. ISSN 1468-330X. PMC 1739034.
- LaPlante, Eve (22 March 2016). Seized: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a Medical, Historical, and Artistic Phenomenon. Open Road Distribution. p. 181. ISBN 9781504032773.
- Brewerton, Timothy D. (1994). "Hyperreligiosity in Psychotic Disorders". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 182 (5): 302–304. doi:10.1097/00005053-199405000-00009. PMID 10678313.
- Kuppuswamy, PS; Takala, CR; Sola, CL (2014). "Management of psychiatric symptoms in anti-NMDAR encephalitis: a case series, literature review and future directions". General Hospital Psychiatry. 36 (4): 388–91. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2014.02.010. PMID 24731834.
- Virginia, Sadock; Benjamin, Sadock; Pedro, Ruiz (2017). Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (10th ed.). ISBN 978-1451100471.
Clinically, they are said to have more mood swings, euphoria, grandiosity, hyperreligiosity, and multimodal hallucinations, and more prominent positive than negative symptoms.
- Garcia-Santibanez, Rocio; Sarva, Harini (1 January 2015). "Isolated Hyperreligiosity in a Patient with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy". Case Reports in Neurological Medicine. 2015: 235856. doi:10.1155/2015/235856. ISSN 2090-6668. PMC 4550801. PMID 26351599.
- Bouman, Daniëlle. "The neurobiological basis of hyper-religiosit". Cite journal requires
- Previc, FH (September 2006). "The role of the extrapersonal brain systems in religious activity". Consciousness and Cognition. 15 (3): 500–39. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2005.09.009. PMID 16439158.
- Anand, KE; Sadanandan, KS (1995). "Carbamazepine in interictal hyper religiosity: three Case Reports". Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 37 (3): 136–138. PMC 2971497. PMID 21743734.