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Our Most Troubling MadnessCase Studies in Schizophrenia Across Cultures$
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T.M. Luhrmann and Jocelyn Marrow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291089

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291089.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Faith Interpreted as Madness

Faith Interpreted as Madness

Religion, Poverty, and Psychiatry in the Life of a Romanian Woman

Chapter:
(p.139) Case 9 Faith Interpreted as Madness
Source:
Our Most Troubling Madness
Author(s):

Jack R. Friedman

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520291089.003.0010

Alexandria is a poor Romanian woman who obtains solace and support from a community of evangelical Christians. Alexandria lives with delusional guilt that she is responsible for many evil crimes. Having borne a son out-of-wedlock while living with her impoverished mother in her village, Alexandria is hospitalized for mental illness. With the compassion and fellowship of her new Christian friends, Alexandria finds acceptance and hope. However, in the context of post-socialist Romania—formerly Eastern Orthodox and currently striving for all that is modern—evangelicalism is so unfamiliar as to seem bizarre. The psychiatrist treating her at the publicly-funded psychiatric hospital where Alexandria lives is baffled by her religious experience and thinks of them only as signs of mental illness. Alexandra’s story illuminates the way fledgling religious movements (here, evangelical Protestantism) may collide with established religious sensibilities and biomedical protocols for treating schizophrenia.

Keywords:   Romania, Eastern Europe, Evangelical Christianity, Hearing voices, Guilt, Psychiatric hospitals, Post-socialism, Schizophrenia

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