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Friday, February 14, 2014

Changes In Religious Belief Can Lead to Substance Abuse

New research indicates that people who have a spiritual connection with God throughout their lives are less likely to go down the road of substance abuse. Data shows that people who change their religious beliefs, over a given period of time, are at a greater risk of using drugs or alcohol, according to researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

More than 6,000 people’s religious practices were observed by researchers in the study. The researchers found that people who have consistent religious beliefs during their lifetime are at a lower risk of substance use and/or misuse.

People who had a religious upbringing, and then drift away from religion as they grow older, are at increased risk of substance use. Interestingly, people with a weak religious background but become devout later in life, are also more likely to be at risk for substance use, Health Canal reports.

“Consistently high levels of religiosity protects against substance misuse, but substantial changes, whether losses or gains, in religiosity over the life course are associated with increased odds of substance use problems,” lead researcher Arden Moscati said in a news release.

All 12-step programs rely heavily on a spiritual connection with a higher power of one kind or another. Many alcoholics and addicts will turn back to their faith with renewed fervor when they get sober, and many would argue that their connection with faith is what keeps them sober.

The study appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
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