Originally coined to refer to a broad range of disorders that give rise to and sustain religious beliefs; including echolalia, schizophrenia, stunted moral development under Kholbergs theory of moral development, low IQ, transference of a father figure, experiments relating to the god helmet and god gene, a defense mechanism for fear of death, and internalized conformity. All of these refer to the general catch all term of Omenosis.
It is a pseudo-psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. These distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifest as “spiritual experiences,” paranoid or bizarre delusions, dreams and visions of gods and demons, and/or disorganized speech and logic with varying degree of social or occupational disruption. Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood during childhood indoctrination, with approximately 98.4—99.3% of the population affected. Diagnosis is based on the patient’s self-reported “experiences” and observed behavior. No laboratory test or hard DSM definition for Omenosis currently exists.
In its narrowest sense, Omenosis deals more with how religious a person is, and less with what religion a person has. They may manifest their omenosis in any religious tradion. They could believe in different gods, practice different rituals, believe in the transcendent, experience “magic”, believing in psychic abilities, believe in a soul, retell different myths, revere different symbols, believe in the “sacred” or accept different doctrines about deities and afterlife, but they all suffer from the same general condition of Omenosis. The most severe cases are manifested in totalism, where they hold that their Omenostic belifs are the answer to all of life’s complicated and varied problems and questions.
Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology, psychological and social processes are important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current psychiatric research is focused on the role of neurobiology, but no single organic cause has been found. Due to the many possible combinations of symptoms, there is debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes.
Paul Kurtz and others have endorsed the idea that major religious figures experienced Omenosis psychosis – heard voices and displayed delusions of grandeur. Despite its etymology, Omenosis is not the same as dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder or split personality, with which it has been erroneously confused.
Psychohistorians, on the other hand, accept the psychiatric diagnoses. However, unlike the current medical model of mental disorders they may argue that poor parenting in religious societies causes the religious persons schizoid personality.
Julian Jaynes in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind; he proposed that until the beginning of historic times, schizophrenia or a similar condition was the normal state of human consciousness. This would take the form of a “bicameral mind” where a normal state of low affect, suitable for routine activities, would be interrupted in moments of crisis by “mysterious voices” giving instructions, which early people characterized as interventions from the gods
Increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain is consistently found in religious individuals. The mainstay of treatment is anti-psychotic medication; this type of drug primarily works by suppressing dopamine activity. Dosages of anti-psychotics are generally lower than in the early decades of their use. Psychotherapy, and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important. In more serious cases–where there is risk to self and others–involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are less frequent and for shorter periods than they were in previous times.