Are these two things tied? What is the probability that a person who is diagnosed with personality disorders such as schizophrenia, avoidant personality disorder, clinical depression, and so on is actually possessed by demons? What spiritual practices can help the person fight these disorders and "get right" without pills and psychoanalytic techniques? Can a personality trait be changed by spiritual practice? (I mean real traits that are inscribed in the sub-conscious since early childhood?)
Share your thoughts!
a personality disorder is just a disease. We dont look at people with cancer and assume they are possessed. Most personality disorders like schizophrenia are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. If you wait a couple hours superman will set you straight :D
Yea, there are some cases in which imbalance causes disorder. However, most are the results of "imbalances" in the culture and at home which put a lot of junk in our subconscious, specially when we were children.... thus they form some habits of thinking which may not be functional in adult life. I was just wondering what the spiritual equivalent of psychoanalytic technique is...
Btw who is superman?
Anyway, just to make the distinction clear, schizophrenia is not a personality disorder.
Personality disorder: Bad: Schizoid, Schizotypal, Paranoid Mad: Borderline, Antisocial/Sociopath, Narcistic Sad: Dependent, Avoidant, Obsessive-Compulsive
Mood: Depression, Bipolar, Seasonal Affective, etc.
Psychotic: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Schizophreniform, Brief Psychotic, delusional disorder...
Dunno how to answer your question, though. Psychotic disorders are characterized by the inability to function in society, and the delusion is such that it doesn't even make sense- even if you adopt the patient's own standpoint (culture, religion, gender etc).
Is it possession by the devil? Well, maybe some cases are, but I just don't understand the high genetic predisposition there is for it.
By the way, that chemical "imbalances" are measured, doesn't mean that is the cause. It may be the other way around- that something caused the chemical imbalances.
a Christian could also argue that as all sickness and grief is a result of living in a fallen world, that all mental sicknesses and turmoil ultimately has a spiritual origin, behind the physiological one.
i used to suffer from a number of such disorders.... was given many medications, which helped somewhat, and other issues i grew out of. ultimately though, it was faith in Christ which truly turned things around, and brought me out of that cycle of depression and anxiety. imo spiritually the best thing you can do for a person who suffers from mental disorders is to pray for them. that God would give them comfort, help, relief, perspective, and rest from their torments. pray for them, love them, be there for them, and share Jesus' Name and love for them, too.
The problem with modern psychiatry is that it mainly considers that mental disorders result from pathological chemical reactions and/or of genetic origin while the exact effect-cause relationships are not so clear in many cases. This means that any spiritual aspect is generally not considered regardless of it exists or not.
All Christians know that spiritual diseases do exist, also that these are not uncommon. As humans we are body and spirit and if one of these two intimately linked components is affected the other may also suffer.
If a biological pathology is present (like a lesion or weakness of a part of the brain or a brain center, or an chromosomal abnormality for ex.) then no doubt this is clearly the main cause of the disturbance.
The Lord has created many useful things and has given us the ability to discover, improve and use them for treatment. He has also given many saints the marvelous gift of healing both spiritual and physical diseases.
Our Lord Jesus Christ heals both body and spirit. It is clear from this miracle that some body ailments are caused by the devil.
Luke 13:10-14; A Spirit of Infirmity
10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. [NKJV]
Because of this I may be inclined to think that mental and/or physical disturbances are somehow the resultant of the fall, this also may explain why the devil is described as the prince of this (fallen) world.
Being possessed means being under the control of the devil (right?), why would God allow the devil to take control over His creation? So that the Glory of His name can be made known when the person is cured? What about those that were never cured and died possessed?
Also, where does free will come in? God would never take control of our bodies, because He wants us to make our own choices. Why then would the devil take control? Back to my first question.... why would God allow this?
I think I remember asking this once to my priest and he said something along the lines of "it's only the people that make vows/agreements with the devil". When watching el karma, I noticed that most possessed folks are muslims. So I can draw the conclusion that most muslims make vows with the devil? Hmm, I am not sure they would agree.
All responses will be appreciated greatly!
(I have not read all the responses to Sheba's question, I apologize if the answer was in front of me the whole time!)
I would still like to hear your opinions regarding this!
I don't believe much in medication... everything can be done through social steps... the techniques are different depending on which disorder, but EVERYONE CAN CHANGE... and can be "fixed" depending on how deep they are in the disorder, they can do it without "pills"
and none of this can be done except by the grace and will of God...
its not only the lack of presence of God in their hearts... but the enmity between one and God... almost to them its the lack of God's existence, and if He were to exist, I will fight Him and not worry about His will, His wants... I will sin, and I will not fear God... because I am god! the modern church fathers who exercise devils, actually say the number one leading sin to demonic possession is Pornography. God never wants the devil to take control of us... but its the same as you writing a contract with someone... if you write a contract over yourself no one can intervene.
what happens is we sin (we write the contract with the devil) and we never repent, and never confess (we ask God not to help us, because we are the same in no need of Him) the devil takes control, and now to be fair God has no reason to interfere, if He were to interfere then we cannot call Him the just judge, and it would give the devil the chance to stand in front of Him and tell Him you took what is mine!!!
and this is even why the devil does not leave the possessed body until the person themselves wants the devil to leave. I think thats covered above... these "vows/agreements" are called higab (not the head covering) but its a literal contract that is made between humans and the devil to help them in whatever they want help in. If one of these is made, even priests will have a hard time, if even will be able to exercise the devil out.
may God protect us all from all that is seen and unseen...
Neshkor Allah, akhadna el baraka.
Im currently doing my psychiatry term and i have been battling this question within me for a very long time. Below are just some of my thoughts!
1.To those that say psychotic or mood illnesses are just imbalances in chemicals its alot more than that. Till now even people argue whether this is even true or not. There are plausible arguments in both camps.
2. Its impossible to do research that determines cause, its highly unethical as well as being impossible. Even if we assume there are imbalances in the brain, what causes these imbalances in the neurotransmitters? Medicine is only treating the symptoms currently not the cause.
3. In regards to the genetic argument, i guess thats impossible to determine, how do u differentiate between experiences in life and genetics. Culture, emotion, experience all play a major role in psychiatric illness. Moreover no clear genes have been implicated in psychotic illnesses.
4. As Christians we should be aware that the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour! If we keep our minds on Christ, our thoughts on Christ, our actions in Christ. We should be assured that nothing will impact on our thought processes.
If we have hope in Christ - Depression Fades Away
If we discern the voice of God - Schizophrenia goes Away
If we know we are nothing and just dust - Delusion goes Away
If we fear and trust in the Lord - Paranoia Goes Away
And So On
Just my 2 cents worth
certainly sin gives the enemy a chance to do us harm, the Bible is clear about that. but this usually means repeated sin without confession, eg immorality, stealing, drunken parties, hatred etc etc.
if we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us.
if we go round randomly exorcising demons we miss the chance to treat the psychological and physical problems and can do a lot of harm.
but also if we think it's all physical imbalances, we miss the opportunity to treat the spiritual problem.
if someone (or their friend) has a psychiatric problem it should be discussed with a professional (psychologist or psychiatrist) under the guidance of their spiritual father. if the person is not a Christian, they need the chance to hear the gospel and a lot of prayer, together with good professional help.
let us pray for those who are troubled with these problems and those who work in this area that God will guide and protect them and give them peace :)
To struggle every day just to pray, to fight delusional thoughts, try my hardest not to lose control, and have someone assume that I am possessed is an insult. I am sure that you were not meaning to come off as being insulting, it probably comes more from your not knowing and inexperience, and that is understandable.
Do I think I am possessed? Sometimes it seems that way when I have a psychotic break, but I highly doubt I could receive communion possessed. I apologize if I was a little hostile here but please understand my position, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between reality and delusion, and with more people pushing me away than supporting me, it is even harder so I am very defensive on this issue.
If you would like to understand it better then watch "Shutter Island" and you will know what it is like. Thanks, again forgive me if I have offended you!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The verse above may help us understand that a fear or a negative thought is not from God. I think it is either due to our fragile nature or of a biological/chemical/toxic effect, or of a spiritual nature (the latter is not understood medically). Remember Christ is the most high Healer.
I pray for the recovery of all who are afflicted with mood disorders.
May the Lord heal all His Sons and Daughters. Amen.
However, Ioannes, I think that the Sheba, like the Queen of Sheba is requesting wisdom on what is the difference between psychosis and demon possession- and since it is something we encounter in the Scriptures the latter, I think it is worth having the discussion. Sorry that the question is offensive brother, but, I found Superman's response very insightful, and your contribution as well. It is something I think some of us needed. I think hardyakka and me benefited from this thread. I think the environment must have some impact though, because it is not completely genetic. Cancer is also partially genetic, lifestyle and environment.
Ioannes, I think I know someone in my church who has a mental disorder, and I often feel like the person is isolated, and you know your response today has opened my eyes to the need to do my part to reconnect the person. I think the person is more isolated from inability to communicate very well, rather than the stigma of a confirmed diagnosis. I only think the person has the diagnosis, though I think it is obvious.
there are mental health problems and there are spiritual problems.
many people have only one of these.
may God have mercy on us all and lead us not to judge but to heal.
We should expect that the Church has more than a fair share of people with mental and emotional problems because the Church is the place where they should be able to find welcome and support, and be able to develop some sort of balance in their lives, God willing.
In my experience it seems that almost every family has someone who is fragile in such a way, and so we should expect that congregations will also have people who need support, understanding and even longsuffering.
Yet, I am also aware of people who present with mental and emotional problems, but are also engaged in a destructive lifetstyle, and/or refuse to take responsibility for their actions. It seems to me that their problems are either caused to a great extent by their sin, or certainly made worse. We can be both ill and sinful.
But many people are just ill, or rather their illness is not caused directly by sin, since we are all sinful. Many people are a bit odd, or need to be given a bit of slack. Or need to know that they are always welcomed for themselves. Or need to be included in things without being put under pressure. We need to be aware that sometimes we need to give more to others than they can give back. Sometimes we will give ourselves to others and they will appear to throw it all in our face and walk away. But if we are patient and remain generous then they know they can come back when things are better for them.
This has been my personal experience as a parent, friend and priest.
I am slowly getting better at noticing that someone is fragile. I am not sure that such conditions are often demonic, certainly if not linked to some other ongoing or historic sinful lifestyle. It seems to me that Satan would not want to control people in a way that always made them stand out. He is much more likely to want to dominate a person with greed, jealousy, gluttony, sexual lusts, pride etc etc. How does a person dominated and possessed by such a spirit present themselves? Probably they are intelligent, successful, leaders, teachers even. They have done well for themselves and are not even aware that they are possessed by fasle spirits and worship false gods.
The poor person with a mental and emotional problem gets the negative attention, while the hypocrite who has no true life in him escapes censure.
I say this to myself.
If Satan were to become incarnated in some way today, it would not be as some mad, crazy character, but as a worldly man in a suit. He would not lead people into demonic rituals but into thinking that worldly success was all that really mattered. He would not even stop people going to Church since he knows that a little religion without any spirituality is better than no religion at all.
Satan surely loves to see people suffer with mental and emotional problems and will certainly try to make situations worse for those whio bear such burdens and yet wish to be faithful to Christ. But I would suggest that a direct connection is not at all common among those who seek to be faithful, and there is certainly not a correlation. Where it can be traced as a condition to past behaviours then there is greater possibility for an ongoing spiritual cause. But Christ would seem to me to want us to consider the acceptable personality disorders of greed, lust, pride, envy, jealousy etc before we rush to judgement. These are as much disorders of our person, and much more likely to be demonic in origin.
I have even had a friend, who is a doctor, tell me that he doesnt believe in psychology. He went on to explain that I must have some sort of sleep disorder because, in his eyes, nobody can have a mood disorder because they don't exist. I thank everyone here for honestly making an effort to try and understand. Thanks again to Clay for clearly understanding how something like this isolates a person, which makes the illness worse actually.
Please dont be put off by my response, I am still having a very difficult time with everything. I am on disability and even the people closest to me view me as "lazy" as opposed to sick. I do believe demon possession exists without a doubt, I just dont like it being tagged onto things people dont understand.
When it is appropriate and possible for you to share a little of your own experience and point of view of such illnesses and conditions without it being too great a burden for you then this is helpful to us all.
May the Lord watch over you and bless you
I honestly believe the major reason that mental disorders, atleast the majority of them, are not a case of possession is not only my experience with suffering from a disorder but noting the differences between the two. To my knowledge I have never been possessed but reading on the subject and watching a host of exorcisms from all different religions I have personally come to the conclusion that they are not the same thing. It is possible however that the hallucinations could possibly have something to do with demons. I do not know enough on the subject to say what the hallucinations actually are caused by. This really is an interesting topic and it is nice to be able to speak freely and people do not seem judgmental about it. Thank you everyone.
As a father, I know that when my children have had very high fevers they have also had hallucinations. Therefore I am fairly confident that most hallucinations are medical and chemical rather than spiritual in a direct sense, though I do not discount the spiritual cause if it seems consonant with a particular lifestyle.
At the time of the attack:
a) the possessed starts talking in an entirely different voice. Women speak in the voice of Barry white,for example ( at least the one I witnessed)
b) The possessed speaks in a language that s/he never learned or even ever heard in their life
c) The possessed starts blaspheming God
d) The possessed is visibly tormented by someone invisible
e) the possessed feels uncomfortable at the sight of the Holy Cross or the mention of the Lord Jesus Christ
f) The possessed starts begging for mercy when questioned by a priest to reveal his identity
I have witnessed scenes a -d..I could not stand the sight and decided to run away, before the demon gets me:-) Regardless of the degree of your faith, fear of the evil overwhelms you.
I think, in tradtional societies the poor and the ignorant class are those that are easy target for demonic possessions . I believe part of the reason is that many engage in witchcraft ,fortunetelling and sorcery as a means of supporting their family and hence literally opening themselves up to the attacks and manipulations of the devil.
Thus, the two situations are , IMHO, entirely different.
At one point I honestly thought that everyone in the church was corrupt. This is why I attacked Fr Peter so viciously. I had contempt for my own priest, and for no reason. I believed it was my job to fix it all, that I was some sort of prophet therefore when others disagreed I became very angry, and sometimes to the point of violence. Thanks to God that I do have some sort of awareness to know that I need to do something, to get back on meds. This is the most embarassing part of this disorder. I mean I insulted priests for Gods sake! I stormed out of church and almost ran over a sub-deacon, and I remember thinking, "thank God I didnt, who are we going to get that knows all the hymns like he does". Normal people would think of a persons safety first. The delusions are the worst part of this sort of illness, again watch the movie "Shutter Island" and I think you can kind of see what I am talking about.
Sorry for rambling, I dont get to talk about this much. Most people still have that stupid mentality that if you dont talk about it, then it doesnt exist. Hopefully we as Christians can set a better example than what I have seen and experienced.
this is not to u but for anyone else on meds:
keep taking yr medication!
if u have some kind of miracle and don't need it anymore then yr doctor will say: 'i don't know what changed, but u don't need this medication anymore'.
i even met someone who stopped taking his insulin (for diabetes) and ended up critically ill in a coma coz he just decided not to take it anymore (he was ok, thank God). on the other hand if u don't need yr medication any more, yr doctor can tell and will also know how quickly it's safe to stop it.
Where is the person's role in fixing things then? Getting the society right so that the environment is safe and sane? Nop! That is good; but it's too much work! After all, even arround Jesus, there was Judea. There will always be bad people. The person should work more on preventing imbalances. But, once the imbalance is broken, it needs a lot of work to figure out how to fix it.
May be the person needs to see a doctor and be treated; and that is temporary relief.
May be the person needs emotional and physical cleansing, and may be that is what "fasting" is all about. I don't know how fasting is practiced in the Coptic Church or in other churches and religions. In the Ethiopian Church, fasting includes eating raw and drinking a lot of spring water (holy water) with lots of prayers and exhuasting prostrations a day. May be that is an attempt to re-write the subconsciuous. May be it is the irregularities in the subconscious that we refer to as the "devil" or may be it is the devil that doctors mistakenly call as the "imbalance"- as superMAN pointed out- things may always be the other way.
Thanks for advancing my understanding one way forward... I will keep reading your insightful tcomments.
I believe this is a very crucial point; and if Science and all the world religions came together to shed more light on this topic, many ills could have been sorted!
Peace and Love!
I cannot afford the lithium, because I have no job or money, but HAVE to have the Lamictal so I dont have withdrawls, and I can tell that without the lithium I am much more out of control, and I am sinking deeper into depression. Weird thing is, I have to take 500mg of B3 which seems to calm me down and help me sleep. I dont know, I am just ranting at this point.