Mental Illness


I was wondering how many here think that mental illnesses are actual medical problems, or who just thinks that they are a spiritual issue.


I think they can be either/or both…

I do believe we can be mentally “attacked” spiritually. The devil does not want us to live happy and fulfilling lives.

Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God!.. so the evil one does not want us to experience God’s joy.

Now, these mental attacks may or may not be spiritually based… who knows with every case… but no matter what the cause… they often materialize with real medical symptoms.

Mental illness IS a medical issue. Healing can come in many forms… God can work through medication and counseling just as easily as he can through prayer.


I believe it’s both.


From my point of view, a broken leg is a spiritual issue, so of course mental illness would be the same.

Just as there are other physical problems whose only recourse is to be found in the spiritual, because the medical is of no avail, so it is with psychiatric problems. Likewise, spiritual health is a boon to both physical and psychological health. We weren’t made with little compartments for all of that; this is why Jesus became Incarnate.

As to the difference between psychiatric and psychological, I see them as the difference as analogous to the physical: those that need a doctor’s help, and those that don’t…with the psychologist and physical therapist for those inbetween. (Obviously, this is an analogy, not a strict correlation.) Unless the outcome may be very bad by waiting–you don’t wait to get help when you feel an as if an elephant is standing on your chest nor if you have thoughts of suicide–or the need for outside cure is obvious–neither a rotten tooth nor alcoholism will usually get better on its own–I’m in the camp that likes to let God and the body/spirit have the first shot at healing. Once that has been tried, though, denial doesn’t do anyone any good.

There is no doubt whatsoever that some mental issues are so physically-based that it is necessary to seek medical treatment for them. If you had to go without, of course you would have to, as people throughout the ages have, but to choose to do so would be like going without dental care when your teeth were killing you or physical care when you had an infection. There would be spiritual means of meeting the challenge, but to not seek professional care when needed would only bring on needless suffering.


what difference does it make what I think? mental illness can arise from many causes, physical damage, organic disease, chemical imbalance, psychological causes, personality disorders and damage, or spiritual, the diagnosis is different for every sufferer. my opinion does not affect that diagnosis one way or the other.

if this is going to turn into another one of those threads that tells people who struggle with mental illness that all their problems will disappear if they only trust in God and pray, while ignoring the advice of doctors and professionals whom God has placed on this earth with the skill and talents to help such sufferers, or who tells them it is their fault because of personal sin, it has all been done and said before so save your breath.


I agree with asquared. Not seeking treatment, and suffering from your issues is not what God wants us to do. Sitting and praying and hoping that if we pray hard enough in just the right way to get better and not actively searching for outside help from the professional mental health field. Well that’s a little to scientology for me.

Glib, you’re being glib Matt. You don’t know anything about psychiatry. :slight_smile:


Because I believe that the spiritual life is not a theory, one has to live it, I believe that all illnesses will respond to spiritual practices…but one must also use what the Lord has made available to us through His mercy, such as the work of fine doctors and professionals.

My opinion is that mental illness is a medical problem that can benefit from strong spiritual practices coupled with proper medical treatment. I also think my opinion is valuable because, as a member of the Body of Christ, “I matter”.



I wasn’t starting this thread for a reason like that, and for you to assume such is rather offensive. My problem is that I have been diagnosed as a rapid-cycling hypo manic bi-polar, and have no health insurance, so I CANNOT take care of everything with meds. The reason I asked was to find out from people what kind of spiritual medication they would recommend. I know that there are experts on many different things here, so I hoped I could receive help on this.

EDIT: Sorry if it seems like I am coming on a little strong about this, but the 16 years that I spent away from the Church have left a long trail of wreckage to be cleaned up. I hope to be able to hold things together during that time.


I think it is both. Now let me elaborate some. :slight_smile: You hear a lot on this forum about the age of reason, free will, and holding people accountable for their actions. That is a nice, neat, tidy theory - indeed I like it myself. So far, so good . -

But then you read, for example, a post like this girl became a drug using promiscuous dishonest godless delinquent, but her father molested her and her boyfriend raped her , and so the overwhelming response is , " poor thing ! It isn’t your fault! Let us help you ! "

But then some smelly fat old male vagrant drunk wanders up and says that his parents hated him and nobody ever gave him a break or loved him ( and you have known this guy from birth so you know his story IS CORRECT ) and the response is , " Be a man you lout! Get a job! Stop whining! Take responsiblity for yourself ! "

A whole lot of little things like that put together and I for one am driven unerringly and inescapably to the conclusion that the very deffinition of mental illness is largely a matter of the old popularity contest and politics.

Free will is applied where it is politically expedient, and who gets to be a coddled victim is likewise applied with obvious political expediency.

The rich get treatment at resorts with pretty nurses and ceramics painting, the poor get treatment in grey concrete cages.

Go see a shrink and tell him your troubles - unless your troubles include beating on women or being overly fond of oggling little girls , in which case your physician becomes enstead Gestapo informant - so no help for you !

I knew this one guy, the police were giving him a savage amount of guff because they didn’t like his politics. So he got fed up and spit on a cop. So they ruined his life. Highly educated man, he spent the rest of his life scrubbing floors and other very menial jobs because he carried the scarlet letter of being a felon. And what was the reaction of others? They pretended that such a thing never happened in this free country.

I, myself, went to jail once, so I can tell you from experience that the most frightening and evil people I ever met were NOT in jail, they were pretty, popular, affluent, and led happy bountiful lives.

Oh, I could go on and on, but the whole thing sickens me. The whole trouble with mental illness is that it isn’t visible , tangible, like a broken leg or two oranges plus two oranges makes four oranges. It is intangible, so people can play all sorts of funny games with it, fantastically, gratiutiously ,visciously cruel games, with it.
If you were, by chance, asking in a round-about way what a poor person in mental distress is supposed to do, pray a lot. Believe that you will go to heaven.
Believe ( and does the bible argue otherwise? ) that this is a cesspool, not our real home. This is exile. But you will go home someday, to a much better place, and people won’t be so cruel there. And best of all, it actually won’t take long. Placed against a geological yardstick of time , for example, even a person who lives the maximum of 115 years, lived a very brief time.


Don’t take offense by what I was writing. Honestly, I’m not worth being offended by. And making fun of Tom Cruise is just something I truly enjoy doing (the glib quote)

Although what you say above isn’t that you CANNOT take care of everything by meds, it’s that you aren’t financially able to take care of you mental health issues with meds at this time.

For things such as depression, I don’t think counseling always cuts it. Talking to a shrink or a psychologist may help. but you need the anti deprressents, maybe only for a few months, but you need themt to correct the imbalance. Talking only gets you somewhere. Something like bi polar, certainly needs meds, and no amount of prayer will correct it.

I believe in psychiatry and psychology, and medicines. Scientologists believe in paying a ton of money to hear about how all of our problems, from the common cold, to cancer to bi polar disorder to broken bones are the result of residual aliens (thetans) left in our bodies and handing over hard earned cash to learn about Xenu, holding on to 2 campbells soup cans attached to what amounts to a bathroom scale to audit yourself their so called emeter to measure ennagrams, will cure you. It won’t, if it did EVERYONE in America and the world would be a Scientologist.


you will find you get much more helpful questions if you ask specifically what is on your mind. the reason some might react, also strongly, is that we have had threads here in the past who attack those suffering various mental conditions on the basis that it is somehow their own fault, and frankly, some of us who have suffered in this way are sick and tired of that attitude.

if you do a search on mental illness, bipolar, depression you will find some excellent threads with contributions by fellow members who themselves have experience with them, and who have helped others. you are among friends here who know what it is like and don’t have false ideas about mental illness. They can relate spiritual journey stories that will curl your hair, uplift you and give you hope.

however to get that wisdom you also have to wade through a lot of misunderstanding and uncharitableness, so make sure you are ready for it.

what we can, and are already doing, is praying for you and there is great power in prayer. bottom line, yes, all illness mental and physical has a spiritual dimension, conventional medicine recognizes this but does not always know how to take advantage of spiritual healing. They can offer great remedies for psychological and physical healing, but the sufferer must go to the Lord for spiritual healing, through union with Christ’s suffering on the Cross and his redemption from suffering in the resurrection. The fastest route to this is the sacraments of the Church, which avail more than any other spiritual remedy.

AlanfromWichita is one member who I believe is bipolar, he has not been here recently, I don’t know why, but if you search under his screen name he offered a lot of wisdom borne of experience.


I don’t mean to hijack your thread so forgive me if this seems like I have - I think you may have some options available for getting your medication that have not been made available to you as yet. Contact your local branch of either the Mental Health Alliance OR go to Catholic Charities and tell them about the need for help getting your meds.

Meanwhile, you keep praying and we will keep praying and I know that Jesus will lead you where you need to be for the help you have to have…


My SIL also is bipolar without insurance. There are many places to get free/reduced counseling and medication. As someone else suggested, call Catholic Charities. They can help you with the counseling and they’ll know how to get reduced priced medication if needed. You can live a productive, happy life through this. It will not be an easy road to more stablized moods, but with time it will be done. As I’m sure you know, your manic stages cause great productivity but when the depressive stages hit, try to journal through them. Also EXERCISE and eat right!!! That won’t completely balance your moods the right way, but it sure will help. If there are certain things that may trigger a serious mood change for you, stay away from them. If there are people who trigger certain moods, kindly tell them that and that you will have to stay away until your moods are more stablized. You are not in this battle alone.

All of us will be praying for and there are many more sufferers out there just like you. I know my biological mother, half siblings, grandfather, great aunts, etc. (basically most of my biological mother’s family) suffer from bipolar disorder (one is in and out of prison because his manic phases are so terrible, he is very destructive during those times which is what leads him back to prison).

All I ask is that when you finally have the right combination of medicine (or help) please don’t stop taking the medicine (or help). I have known too many to have done this and well, their trainwrecks keep happening because they think they’re too good to take the medicine not noticing the reality of what is happening around them when they are off their medicine.


Ditto on the advice to keep searching for free or low cost avenues to obtain needed medications and/or counseling. I have dealt with disability cases for many years from the legal side and bipolar disorder can really lead to tragic consequences when the proper help is not obtained. There are likely some mental health advocacy groups in your state along with church groups that will help with treatment costs. Sometimes you can get free help at a county/public hospital or through a university hospital. Just don’t give up or be ashamed to ask for help.


They all tell me to get Medicaid, but with the new baby in the house and my fiance just started her new job, its next to impossible to have the time for the10 or so appt’s that I have to go through to get the Medicaid. And unfortunately, nowhere around helps get everything done for you, unless I was to go impatient somewhere.


Contact Catholic Charities. You must remember, if this is your diagnosis and there is a new baby around, you MUST get yourself help asap for that baby’s sake too.


very deffinition of mental illness is largely a matter of the old popularity contest and politics.

I mean this most respectfully- have you spent a significant amount of time with anyone who is bipolar, very OCD, or schizoprenic? I do think we live in an era when reasonable anxiety is treated as a disease, but the difference between that and serious mental health issues is quite apparent to those who interact regularly with the mentally ill.


I personally believe it can be either or both.


Most mental illness is hereditary brain chemical imbalance issues.

Mental illness is hardly ever demonic. The church always asks people who think they have demonic stuff going on to undergo a mental health assessment. Below I quote some info I found on CA.

Q: When and how should one contact an exorcist?

A: The first step is to contact your diocese, which may have an appointed exorcist or may direct you to another diocese. But before an exorcism can be performed, psychological illness or natural causes must be ruled out. While many cases of suspected demonic possession are reported, only rarely is one attributed to demonic activity. The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority that Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One and not an illness (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1673).


I know this was posted a while back, but I have to say that my mental illness is definitely a physical ailment, that I can control with medication (and I don’t have insurance either). I spent so much time in prayer when I was suffering my worst, and the answer was to tell my doctor. Once he diagnosed depression, we later discovered I was bipolar. And suddenly all those strange things I experienced through the years made more sense. If I had not been diagnosed, I would have gone on believing I just wasn’t a good enough person, a poor Christian, and too weak to change. A very difficult spiritual battle to overcome.
Thanks to God leading me to my doctor, I really and truly can worship Him better, and help my neighbor better. (Not easy to do when you are focused solely on yourself and your problems)

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