Jaikumar Velayudham, Rathika Picha

BACKGROUND: Magico-religious beliefs are widely prevalent in India and eastern countries compared to western countries. This causes the patients and their families spending extra ordinary time, money and effort in seeking their treatment and it will also increase the duration of untreated psychosis. We wanted to describe magico-religious belief of caregivers and patients suffering from psychosis.

METHODS: A descriptive study was carried out among fifty consecutive patients attending the outpatient department of our Institute of Mental Health after enrolling them in the study. Participants were selected through a simple random sampling method. Data was collected through face to face interview using a structured questionnaire. Informed consent obtained. The process was explained to all.

RESULTS: 24 patients had schizophrenia, 9 patients had bipolar affective disorder, 12 patients had psychosis NOS, 5 patients had alcohol with psychosis. 30 patients were in the 20-30 years age group. 16 patients were in the 30-40 years category. 4 patients were in the 40-50 age group category.

CONCLUSIONS: Supernatural beliefs are common in caregivers and patients with psychiatric illness. Many of them attribute the symptoms of mental illnesses to these beliefs. So, this will increase the duration of untreated psychosis and delays seeking treatment in psychiatric hospitals. Thus, there is a need to change the attitude of the general population towards people with mental illness through awareness campaign.