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Sanity and SanctityMental Health Work Among the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem$
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David Greenberg and Eliezer Witztum

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300071917

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300071917.001.0001

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Mental Illness and Religious Change: The Chicken or the Egg

Mental Illness and Religious Change: The Chicken or the Egg

16 Mental Illness and Religious Change: The Chicken or the Egg
Sanity and Sanctity

David Greenberg

Eliezer Witztum

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses a study that addresses the following questions: Is mental illness more common among baalei teshuva? Is there a relationship between the process of religious change and the onset of mental illness? Are there specific psychiatric conditions associated with religious change? The results show that the rate of mental illness among baalei teshuva is higher than expected. Although the initial effects of a change to orthodox Judaism may have been positive, in subsequent years the sample experienced the onset or recurrence of severe mental illness.

Keywords:   ultra-orthodox Jews, baalei teshuva, mental illness, religious change

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