Researching the spiritual dimensions of alcohol and other drug problems

Addiction. 1998 Jul;93(7):979-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.1998.9379793.x.


Although religions have been far from silent on the use of psychoactive drugs, and spirituality has long been emphasized as an important factor in recovery from addiction, surprisingly little research has explored the relationships between these two phenomena. Current findings indicate that spiritual/religious involvement may be an important protective factor against alcohol/drug abuse. Individuals currently suffering from these problems are found to have a low level of religious involvement, and spiritual (re)engagement appears to be correlated with recovery. Reasons are explored for the lack of studies testing spiritual hypotheses, and promising avenues for future research are discussed. Comprehensive addictions research should include not only biomedical, psychological and socio-cultural factors but spiritual aspects of the individual as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Religion
  • Religious Philosophies*
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*