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Though a small minority of psychologists have characterized all or nearly all religion as delusion, others focus solely on a denial of any spiritual cause of symptoms exhibited by a patient and look for other answers relating to a chemical imbalance in the brain, although there is actually no evidence of pathology in any psychiatric illness which means a diagnosis is made purely on opinions of professionals based on symptoms the person exhibits. Individuals experiencing religious delusions are preoccupied with religious subjects that are not within the expected beliefs for an individual’s background, including culture, education, and known experiences of religion.
These preoccupations are incongruous with the mood of the subject. Researchers in a 2000 study found religious delusions to be unrelated to any specific set of diagnostic criteria, but correlated with demographic criteria, primarily age. In a comparative study sampling 313 patients, those with religious delusion were found to be aged older, and had been placed on a drug regime or started a treatment programme at an earlier stage.