Mental illness or "demonized"


#1

Different churches or people seem to have different beliefs about the true cause of mental illness. Some say it is caused by a chemical imbalalnce in the brain. There are studies that can prove this somewhat.
Other churches say it is 100% spiritual issue. People who believe the devil's lies get into a sort of headlock which causes them to have symptoms that fit into todays psychological definition of mental illness.
What I want to know is, which beleif is right? Any Biblical back-up here?
I do realize that "being attacked by demons" would cause a great deal of strain on someone's body. Thus, it would affect their mind and body. They might lose sleep, which might cause them to become depressed.
I also agree with the side that says it is a problem in the brain (mental illness) somewhat. But I don't know if it is simply a physical issue, or if it can be a spiritual problem as well.


#2

[quote="Jesusismyfriend, post:1, topic:282122"]
Different churches or people seem to have different beliefs about the true cause of mental illness. Some say it is caused by a chemical imbalalnce in the brain. There are studies that can prove this somewhat.
Other churches say it is 100% spiritual issue. People who believe the devil's lies get into a sort of headlock which causes them to have symptoms that fit into todays psychological definition of mental illness.
What I want to know is, which beleif is right? Any Biblical back-up here?
I do realize that "being attacked by demons" would cause a great deal of strain on someone's body. Thus, it would affect their mind and body. They might lose sleep, which might cause them to become depressed.
I also agree with the side that says it is a problem in the brain (mental illness) somewhat. But I don't know if it is simply a physical issue, or if it can be a spiritual problem as well.

[/quote]

There are some very particular tests that the Church goes through when attempting to discern whether or not one's ailment, for lack of a better word, is demonic, physical or psychological. Demonic possesion, obsession, bondage and torment is very real. So is mental illness. They do not have to be necessarily connected. One may be helped by medicine or therapy; the other needs a priest. The difference between the two is very difficult to determine by the average, untrained person and the symptoms can be somewhat similar. This is not to say that demonic influence cannot be the cause of certain mental illnesses but they do not have to be connected.

I won't pretend to be an expert in this area but I have had extensive conversations with my priest who sometimes assists our diocesan exorcist. One case in which he assisted involved a small community and he helped interview many people in the community who were being affected. It turned out to be true demonic possession brought on by satanic worship in which the majority of the community was involved. It took over three years to rid the community of the demons and they are still watching it closely. Made my hair stand on end.


#3

Both, I think. Maybe all one or the other in some cases, but I believe most cases have a component of both - possibly that mental illness makes it more likely to, or the person therefrom suffering more likely to engage in activities that, open one to Demonic influence.

As a mentally-ill man (although not as severely as many), that's my opinion - whether my mental illness made me tend towards atheism or the worship of a great demon that I engaged in for several years, I don't know, but I have a feeling it's a chicken-and-egg scenario: was it my mental illness that made me practice demon-worship (the worship of Allah and his mouthpiece Muhammad), or was it the demon-worship that opened me to greater demonic influence, and therefore mental illness?

There certainly seems to be the smell of Demon around it to me, based on reaction to both Holy and impious things, to the Sacraments of the Church, to rosaries, the Jesus prayer, crucifixes and holy water, and to Christianity itself. I tend towards rationalism and away from superstition, but, it be true, that, in praying the Mohammedan "vigil prayers" in the middle of the night, both me and my Mohammedan fiancee felt fearful presences in the rooms around us, to the point that she was afraid to pray in a separate room and kept invalidating her prayer by practicing non-prescribed movements, startles and jerks. Given the description of Allah and what is supposedly the angel Gabriel in the Koran and ahadith - being the Gabriel which attempted to crush Muhammad to death until he agreed to recite the Koran - we believed they were Allah-ic spirits or angels come to listen to the recitation of the Glorious Koran (as several ahadith state that angels descend when one does salat perfectly), as if I recited it that well, or at worst jinn come to distract us from the essential act of Allah (demon)-worship.


#4

I know that when I began to go to mass and pray catholic traditional prayers everyday, my anxiety and depression and almost immediately went to very low levels relative to what it had been (intense) for months. I was greatly relieved and amazed. My voices continued but changed from being almost all negative and evil to mostly evil with some comforting and encouraging voices. As time went by over the past few years and I continued being a practicing catholic my depression and anxiety is almost nonexistent, I am close to a being a normal person emotionally. It works! Alleluia! Deo gratias!


#5

I'll let my wife, a therapist, answer this. She doesn't have an account on CAF.

Mental Illness is a medical illness. The brain is an organ, just the like the liver and the heart. It is also the source of all thought and reason. If the organ is diseased, damaged or deformed at birth, thought and reason are affected. This can be demonstrated on PET scans.
Depression has clearly been proven to be a biological disease. The use of SSRI's impact the Seratonin levels and do lessen/treat depression. However, some depressions also need to be addressed with Dopanine in addition to Seratonin. But medication is only one piece of the puzzle. Healthy diet, exercise, regular sleep/wake cycle and learning positive mood management skills also help in aleviating depression.
Depression can be inherited. Depression can be learned. What I mean by this is that we learn how to manage our frustration/anger/mood from those around us.So, we learn how to be depressed if we do not learn positive coping skills. So cause and cure are not simple. But, I am fortunate to have an active part in people achieving stability.
There is a similar cycle with treating anxiety.
With psychotic disorders, there is more of a likelihood that untrained individuals see it as demonic opression or possession. However, there is clear evidence with PET scans that it is dysfunctional brain activity that can be treated with medication and therapy.
I have been involved in the treatment of this for 25 years and have never seen a case of demonic possession. I am not saying it is not possible, but mental illness and demonic possession are not one and the same.


#6

[quote="Jesusismyfriend, post:1, topic:282122"]
Different churches or people seem to have different beliefs about the true cause of mental illness. Some say it is caused by a chemical imbalalnce in the brain. There are studies that can prove this somewhat.
Other churches say it is 100% spiritual issue. People who believe the devil's lies get into a sort of headlock which causes them to have symptoms that fit into todays psychological definition of mental illness.
What I want to know is, which beleif is right? Any Biblical back-up here?
I do realize that "being attacked by demons" would cause a great deal of strain on someone's body. Thus, it would affect their mind and body. They might lose sleep, which might cause them to become depressed.
I also agree with the side that says it is a problem in the brain (mental illness) somewhat. But I don't know if it is simply a physical issue, or if it can be a spiritual problem as well.

[/quote]

Some can be mentally ill or actually possessed by a demonic entity. However, if I am correct,someone is capable of having both. The RCC always does an extensive investigation to determine if one is seriously ill mentally or are truly possessed.


#7

In my experience, those who claim that ALL such issues are demonic or ALL are mere mental illness have made up their minds before even looking at the facts.

I believe current guidelines for excorcists require them to take extensive care to rule out non-supernatural causes before concluding that the rite is necessary. Seems reasonable to me.


#8

[quote="Khalid, post:3, topic:282122"]
As a mentally-ill man (although not as severely as many), that's my opinion - whether my mental illness made me tend towards atheism or the worship of a great demon that I engaged in for several years, I don't know, but I have a feeling it's a chicken-and-egg scenario: was it my mental illness that made me practice demon-worship (the worship of Allah and his mouthpiece Muhammad), or was it the demon-worship that opened me to greater demonic influence, and therefore mental illness?

[/quote]

Interesting. But as a Catholic, aren't you supposed to believe that Muslims worship the same God as do Christians? And as a devout Muslim, how could you have been worshipping Muhammad when doing so would have constituted shirk--the gravest sin in your religion at the time?

There certainly seems to be the smell of Demon around it to me, based on reaction to both Holy and impious things, to the Sacraments of the Church, to rosaries, the Jesus prayer, crucifixes and holy water, and to Christianity itself.

Can you describe particular incidents involving the sacraments, sacramentals, and theology where you felt such a negative response that it cannot be attributed to the horror that one would expect a devout Muslim to experience when encountering anything Christian-related? (We must bear in mind that all those things would have reminded you of what any devout Muslim would find most objectionable about Christianity--the soul-damning sin of shirk.)

I tend towards rationalism and away from superstition, but, it be true, that, in praying the Mohammedan "vigil prayers" in the middle of the night, both me and my Mohammedan fiancee felt fearful presences in the rooms around us, to the point that she was afraid to pray in a separate room and kept invalidating her prayer by practicing non-prescribed movements, startles and jerks. Given the description of Allah and what is supposedly the angel Gabriel in the Koran and ahadith - being the Gabriel which attempted to crush Muhammad to death until he agreed to recite the Koran - we believed they were Allah-ic spirits or angels come to listen to the recitation of the Glorious Koran (as several ahadith state that angels descend when one does salat perfectly), as if I recited it that well, or at worst jinn come to distract us from the essential act of Allah (demon)-worship.

Eerie. Have any other Muslims ever mentioned or hinted at experiencing such things to you?


#9

[quote="manualman, post:7, topic:282122"]
In my experience, those who claim that ALL such issues are demonic or ALL are mere mental illness have made up their minds before even looking at the facts.

I believe current guidelines for excorcists require them to take extensive care to rule out non-supernatural causes before concluding that the rite is necessary. Seems reasonable to me.

[/quote]

Agreed. As would my wife.
I've always said, if I were a demon, where would I do the most damage? A person in an institution heavily medicated?
Or a politician in Washington where I can direct influence upon the country and the world?
Demons don't always foam at the mouth and spit pea soup (ala The Exorcist).
Sometimes they're running for re-election. :cool:

Evil never approaches us and introduces itself as Mr Evil.
More often than not, it comes as an angel of light.


#10

Stay on topic please


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