Medical Occultism: prevalence and impact on clinical psychiatric practice
Background: Occult practices are widespread throughout the world and have a negative effect on adherents among patients. The aim of the study: To analyze the prevalence of medical occultism and the negative impact it has on the development of preventive recommendations. Materials and methods: A sample of 1110 people from various social groups (general population – 256, psychiatrists – 73, nurses – 158, medical attendants – 119, and patients with schizophrenic spectrum disorders – 504) was examined. Medical-sociological, psychometric, clinical-psychopathological and nonparametric statistics methods were used. Results: It was found that 48.8% of schizophrenic patients, 40.5% of nurses and 38.7% of medical attendants believe in witchcraft; less often – 34% of the population and 16.4% of psychiatrists. Higher numbers were obtained in relation to belief in clairvoyance: from 59.4% among patients, to 43.4% among the population. Similar figures are obtained in beliefs about "black magic" and astrology. A significant part among all social groups allows the possibility of both causing the disease and healing the person with the occult practices. From 16.4% of psychiatrists to 41% of the population turned out to be ready to recommend applying to the adepts of the occult. Similar figures were obtained from nurses and medical attendants. Applying to the adherents of the occult in childhood at the initiative of parents is a risk factor for the formation of occult beliefs. The clinical features of patients who seek help of the adepts of the occult are the predominance of “mild” forms of mental disorders with an affective register, satisfactory social adaptation, and low compliance. The negative consequences of seeking help from the adepts of the occult included suicidal attempts, untimely provision of psychiatric care, exacerbation of the disease and the formation of a delusional plot of occult subjects. Conclusion: The conduct of psycho-educational work and the implementation of the program of psychosocial therapy are statistically significant in reducing the number of people who are convinced in real power of the adepts of the occult and are ready to recommend seeking their help.