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Crossing boundaries between religion and psychiatry

What is the impact of Ramadan on patients with a bipolar disorder? What does it mean to be sensitive to psychiatric patients' religious beliefs? Driss Moussaoui, a Moroccan psychiatrist, talks about this in a video interview with Leiden University's Islam Centre LUCIS.

Being sensitive to patients' religious beliefs

Moussaoui stresses the importance of being sensitive to the religious beliefs of psychiatric patients. This does not only imply that psychiatrists should know about the religious backgrounds of their patients; they should also be able to find ways to speak their patients’ “religious” language by including religious references in their communication.

The Moroccan psychiatrist has been quite creative in mastering this specific skill, especially when it comes to addressing patients who believe they are possessed by invisible spirits (jinns). In the interview, he shares some interesting anecdotes from his years of clinical practice experience, including an example in which he refers to a hadith.  

Ramadan and mental health

Moussaoui also tells about research he conducted on the impact of Ramadan on patients with a bipolar disorder (1 - 1,5% of the total population worldwide). The results showed that the relapse rate among bipolar fasters was 42%. Moussaoui therefore recommends bipolar patients not to fast during Ramadan, and to maintain their usual day-and-night rhythm.

Driss Moussaoui

Driss Moussaoui is the founder of the Ibn Rushd University Psychiatric Centre in Casablanca and served as its president from 1979 to 2013. He was also director of the Casablanca WHO Collaborating Centre in Mental Health from 1992 to 2013.

He was president of the Moroccan Society of Psychiatry and of the Arab Federation of Psychiatrists. Currently he is the scientific director of the series "Anthologies in Psychiatry" of the World Psychiatric Association.

Leiden | Islam interview series

This is the third video in the Leiden | Islam interview series, which contains short documentary-style videos including interview flashes with leading scholars in the field of Islam and Muslim societies. With this series, LUCIS (Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society) aims to show the value of unconventional insights related to Islam and Muslim societies.

In the first video of the series, James Montgomery explained the relevance of Arabic poetry for our understanding of the Arabic-speaking world. In the second video,  Michael Macdonald explained the relevance of uncovering the thousands of inscriptions of ancient Arabia. The series will soon also include an interview with LUCIS director Petra Sijpesteijn about her fascination for papyri.

The videos in this series are produced by Faithful to the Subject. The production of this series is made possible by a donation of Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil company.



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