Mental illness or demonic possession?

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Mental illness or demonic possession?

#1

Post by melanie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:06 pm

Was curious as to how other believers view mental illness and whether or not in some cases it could be attributed to demonic possession. We know from scripture that Jesus drove out numerous demons from people and I believe that the spiritual realm is unchanging, God is the same God yesterday, as HE is today and will be tomorrow, I don't think the passage of time has eliminated demons or their ability to manifest themselves here on earth. But I think that history has shown a long ongoing mis-understanding of the mentally ill and claiming that they are all possessed has and is damaging and simply not true. Acute depression or severe anxiety cannot be said to be demonic possession, I am talking about the extreme cases where they have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and are plagued with delusions and voices speaking to them inside their minds. Mental Illness, especially schizophrenia, is something that still for the most part baffles the medical field, changes in brain chemistry has been found, but whether these changes occurred before or after the onset of the illness is not clear. I have wavered back and forth over the years as to where I stand on this, my long standing opinion was it was purely a medical issue, now those views have changed somewhat.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#2

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:13 pm

I suffer from depression and anxiety, I think it is both a physical and a spiritual issue.

There is a physical problem in my brain (caused by years of abuse (mental, physical, drug, sexual)) which is now treated with medication, but I believe that physical problem in my brain opens a door into the spiritual realm which the medication helps close. I feel my thoughts are much more easily influenced when I am not on my meds.

Sorry a little edit. I believe the spiritual realm and the physical realms are intertwined, what happens in one affects the other and vice versa.
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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#3

Post by Silvertusk » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:53 am

I think both as well - Sometimes there are medical reasons - other times it could well be demonic possession.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#4

Post by Ivellious » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:14 am

I'd be hesitant to attribute specific medical conditions (like schizophrenia) to demonic possession simply on the basis of "scientists don't fully understand it." We've made great strides in studying the brain and mental illness over the years, but until very recently the brain was, practically speaking, a total mystery to us. Lots of conditions that a hundred or more years ago would have been attributed to demonic possession (or something similar) we now know are caused by physical or chemical changes in the brain, and not any sort of spiritual imbalance.

Is there any truth to the idea that spiritual or metaphysical forces can cause or impact mental illness? Honestly, I don't know for sure, but I'm hesitant to assume anything, especially with new neuroscientific discoveries being made almost constantly these days.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#5

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:31 am

Demonic possession has certain tell-tale signs that can NEVER be confused with mental illness.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#6

Post by Silvertusk » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:43 am

PaulSacramento wrote:Demonic possession has certain tell-tale signs that can NEVER be confused with mental illness.

like their heads turning 360 degrees.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#7

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:45 am

Silvertusk wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Demonic possession has certain tell-tale signs that can NEVER be confused with mental illness.

like their heads turning 360 degrees.
LOL !
Sure, but I mean there are certain physical traits and certain thing that people who are possessed by demons can do that is not explained by mental illness.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#8

Post by Philip » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:09 pm

Mental illness or demonic oppression (not necessarily, POSSESSION) - it's not that easy or clear.

Interesting things:

I have a nephew who is now a Christian. He has been diagnosed (at various times) as Schizo, Schizo-affective, some Schizo with bi-polar aspects. He has LONG heard voices that try to tell him what to do. And often, what they tell him is not good. It's very disconcerting. Medication doesn't really make them go away. But since truly having some Christian discipleship, his thinking is far more mature. His wrongful desires less.

I had an uncle - from the time he was a young teenager, claimed that he saw spirits and would utter the foulest, most-disgusting things. He was hospitalized most of his adult life in a mental facility. He even killed a fellow patient in a petty argument - didn't seem to really know what he had done.

My brother has worked for the department of mental health for over 30 years. He was telling me about a 150-year-old former mental ward complex (long abandoned) that sits on the grounds of the state's main mental health campus. He said just about every guard that has been there for years has terrifying, night-time stories to tell about what they have seen and heard at night. This is a place that is locked and boarded up - no way to get in - many unexplained human voices and scary sounds, a figure with a candle has been seen (many times, from the outside windows) walking from one room to another - and yet they only way to do so would be to be able to pass through walls. In it's day, this facility was a 19th century house of horrors, as there was no real treatment for many, as many of the severe mentally ill were chained or restrained (24-7). My brother said that one guy in particular was an older, no-nonsense fellow that would no way make such stories up.

So what's going on? I don't know, but I sure wouldn't rule out demonic possibilities with some of these. When I read Scriptural descriptions of possession, it sure sounds eerily like some of the symptoms supposedly caused purely by mental illness. I wonder.

As for the so-called RCC ritual of exorcism - HOGWASH! New Testament casting out of demons was immediate, no days of shouting ritual mumbo-jumbo. And they were cast out by the power of Jesus name, and not via theatrics or skillfully enacted rituals. And the Bible says ANY saint can cast out demons - through faith in the one with the power to do so - NOT, as per the RCC, due to the power of skillfully applied ritual. Despite what a slew of "The Exorcist"-styled B movies otherwise suggest. And might not demons WANT people to mistakenly believe in the power of ritual. Priest is called, incense, chanting, repetitive secret rituals are uttered, and at some point the demonic goes quiet - BUT IS IS REALLY GONE? And how clever it would be for them to simply APPEAR to be subdued by a priest uttering secret rituals - as what will people have faith in if demons successfully manipulate to make such things SEEM to be effective. They put on a good show and go silent after days of pointless chanting mumbo-jumbo - which is TOTALLY un-Scriptural.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#9

Post by neo-x » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:50 pm

I agree with Phillip and paul completely.

I have had such experiences and somewhere on this board there is thread about it. But yes some people may look like as if they are possessed but are just going through mental illnesses. The signs of demonic possession or oppression are very subtle and sometimes its very hard to say if the victim is ill or possessed.

That being said I have seen, a woman possessed, crawl out during prayer like a reptile, climb the wall and then fall from 25 feet, broke her spine and is now in wheelchair, for the rest of her life. Good news, she accepted Christ after she was prayed upon, got baptized and now is a very healthy member of the church.

I have had the opportunity to pray for a girl who was not possessed but she thought she was. Praying for her just didn't feel right, even after we kept praying for her, because she was constantly going in and out of trances. She would forget for a moment who I was and would fail to recognize me and then in the next instance plead to me for help. We finally found a good psychiatrist who got in touch with doc and for her and she is doing fine now, married with two children. I am quite sure her she was never possessed.
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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#10

Post by B. W. » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:42 am

One must be careful of over simplification in classifying metal illness as demon possession. In cases of Schizophrenia, as the article quoted below mentions, the human brain is basically rewired. So the person needs healing, not a demon cast out. Much harm has come to those suffering from Schizophrenia when someone with good but misguided intentions tries to cast spirits out of a Schizophrenic.
The Effects of Schizophrenia on the Brain
Adina Cazaban

New test and machines also enabled researchers to study the structure of schizophrenic brains using Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). The different lobes of affected brains were examined and compared to those of normal brains, showing several structural differences. The most common finding was the enlargement of the lateral ventricles, which are the fluid-filled sacs that surround the brain. The other differences, however, are not nearly as universal, though they are significant. There is some evidence that the volume of the brain is reduced and that the cerebral cortex is smaller.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/n ... zaban.html
As with all mental illness being demon possession, the answer would be no. Most often there are chemical imbalances, past trauma, and other factors involved. One factor, for example, eat a steady diet of fatty foods and, well, you will not feel or act too good. In some cases, the answer is, Yes, there is something else going on.

Best case is for mature Christian discernment to determine if some form of demonic oppression,or demonic possession is a cause of some malady verses biological issues that need prayers for healing or medication. This goes back to the gifts of the Holy Spirit on discernment. Demon possession is rare, and when you run across it, you will know beyond all doubt that it is what it is. Jesus Christ did not leave us orphans and grants Christian to use his name against such. Again possession is rare and as others mentioned, there are tell tale clues a person is.

Demonic spiritual oppression on the other hand is more prevalent. This is best envisioned by those old cartoons when the character has a demon and a angel on their shoulder and the demon whispering in ones ear. However, in cases of oppression, thoughts of low self worth, hopelessness, self aggrandizement, etc and etc come and influence emotions and behaviors in great degrees. The key here is renewing the mind with the word of God and learning who one is in Christ Jesus. Asking the Lord to shine his light into the dark areas of one's soul so one see's the causes and he helps walk you through the pain and heals the broken heart. There is much more but again discernment is needed as well as folks who can help one walk out of the mire of oppression.

Then there is the more common biological component where for whatever reasons, the brain fails to produce balanced chemicals and produces issues for folks that need a bit of medication to help. Such easy one size fits all approach to mental illness, demonic possession or oppression, is not wise. Again spiritual discernment is needed as well as wise counsel.
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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#11

Post by melanie » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:06 am

I think it depends on the individual case. I think for the most part it is chemical imbalances that medication helps manage, but due to the vulnerability of the persons spirit at the time they are much more susceptible to demonic oppression. In the vary rare cases I think it quite possibly is demonic possession.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#12

Post by melanie » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:10 am

neo-x wrote:I agree with Phillip and paul completely.

I have had such experiences and somewhere on this board there is thread about it. But yes some people may look like as if they are possessed but are just going through mental illnesses. The signs of demonic possession or oppression are very subtle and sometimes its very hard to say if the victim is ill or possessed.

That being said I have seen, a woman possessed, crawl out during prayer like a reptile, climb the wall and then fall from 25 feet, broke her spine and is now in wheelchair, for the rest of her life. Good news, she accepted Christ after she was prayed upon, got baptized and now is a very healthy member of the church.

I have had the opportunity to pray for a girl who was not possessed but she thought she was. Praying for her just didn't feel right, even after we kept praying for her, because she was constantly going in and out of trances. She would forget for a moment who I was and would fail to recognize me and then in the next instance plead to me for help. We finally found a good psychiatrist who got in touch with doc and for her and she is doing fine now, married with two children. I am quite sure her she was never possessed.
You witnessed the women climb the wall and fall? That is obviously not humanly possible without something else going on! But what great news she is now saved.

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#13

Post by Philip » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:28 pm

I have a lot of experience with a friend who is mentally ill, is bipolar. His is clearly an illness. But my mild-mannered friend (Dr. Jekyll), when fully manic, can become a very dangerous and scary "Mr. Hyde." And, at least to a point, can control Mr. Hyde from fully revealing himself, but only for a brief period. And so Mr. Hyde can seemingly come out of nowhere - you just didn't realize he was going manic until just before he becomes this whole other person. Once I had taken him shopping for groceries - which I had just bought him (he had no money - blew it all in a manic state). When he becomes manic he will often talk nonsense, nonstop. So we're riding down the road one day when I knew he was somewhat manic (but I didn't realize how much so) and he would not shut up - was just babbling total nonsense. I'd had enough and suddenly said, "Will you please just SHUT UP?' He immediately became enraged and tried to jump out of the (still moving) car. I slammed on the brakes and he jumps out, slammed the door so hard I thought he'd broken the hinges, and then storms down the road in a rage. I followed and tried to calm him down. Then, suddenly, he picks up an 8-foot plank of wood he spotted in the road and he turns and hurls it right at my windshield. I jammed it in reverse and hit the pedal, just as I realized what he was doing - it fell just short. But get him on the right meds, good sleep habits, less stress, eating right - and within 10 days he's pretty much back to being Dr. Jekyll. And I just don't think that any medication would have such dramatic and calming result if his illness was in any way demonic. Although a manic person in full rage can definitely seem possessed. And it's VERY scary!

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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#14

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:50 am

Here's a good candidate for the title of Demon Possessed Man:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Noainlu3a8k

He isn't foaming at the mouth Hollywood style, nor do his eyes glow red...but listen to what he says.

FL :)
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Re: Mental illness or demonic possession?

#15

Post by RickD » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:11 am

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:Here's a good candidate for the title of Demon Possessed Man:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Noainlu3a8k

He isn't foaming at the mouth Hollywood style, nor do his eyes glow red...but listen to what he says.

FL :)
Demon possessed? I didn't see it.
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