By Carol A. Davis
On the subject of whether or not demons cause mental illness and whether the person can be healed if they are cast out, I’d like to share my thoughts, not from the perspective of someone who knows anything about demonic activity, but as someone who suffers from mental illness. I have three hypotheses based on my experience, as well as things I’ve read and been told by doctors. I’m completely open to the possibility that I could be wrong on all of them.
1. I think sometimes it can be a real illness not caused by demons:
I understand that there are “functional” diseases and “organic” diseases. True, severe mental illness is organic. From what I’ve read, for instance, regular depression can be functional, meaning it could be cured with therapy, short-term medications, etc. Any minor damage to nerve-connections, or a slightly damaged hippocampus, etc., can regenerate, and there may not even be any physical damage to the brain at all. Major depression is organic. There is a permanent defect and/or damage to the brain tissue. Counseling or minor drugs can’t treat that any more than they could treat amnesia caused by a car wreck.
People who are truly mentally ill will have physiological differences in their brains, either genetically inherited or caused by some type of damage. For instance, PTSD is caused by severe emotional trauma that actually causes physical damage to the brain. A person could receive a head injury and begin suffering from a mental illness. These differences will show up in CT scans and autopsies; however, a mentally ill person can only be diagnosed based on his/her behavior. A doctor can’t cut open the patient’s brain to see if, say, the person doesn’t have enough gray matter somewhere or has an atrophied hippocampus, but the dr. still has to treat the patient in whatever way possible, based on whatever he/she has to go on.
I think that when this is the case, casting out a demon won’t help, any more than casting a demon out of a person who is missing a leg will cause that leg to grow back.
2. I think sometimes it is purely a demon. I think a person could have a perfectly normal brain but still suffer from the symptoms of a mental illness, b/c a demon is causing it. If a person is diagnosed as bipolar because of violent mood swings, if a demon is causing it, then he or she is not really bipolar. They will still receive a bipolar diagnosis, b/c the dr. can’t cut open their brain to see that, and brain scans cannot be used to diagnose mental illness. So if the person gets a demon cast out and then suddenly becomes normal, it makes it look as if every case of mental illness can be remedied in the same way. If deliverance doesn’t work on someone else who truly has the illness, it makes it look like it’s just because of some demon that hasn’t come out yet.
3. I think sometimes it could be both. If a person has a neurological predisposition to hallucinate, I think a demon could have a field day with this and make sure the person’s hallucinations are of the worst kind, and use them to make the person worse, or want to harm themselves or others. Maybe if that demon gets cast out, it will improve somewhat, simply b/c their symptoms won’t be as bad as what the demon aggravated them to be. In that case, it could make it look like some of the demons had been cast out, but just not all of them yet, since it worked, just not all the way.
I believe the cause of a mental illness in general, whether organic or demonic, is difficult to judge, simply because the two variables cannot be seen with the naked eye. You can’t see demons, and you can’t see into someone’s brain without either killing them or performing a non-justified brain surgery. That leaves it open to all types of different conclusions, and none of it seems cut and dried.
I’m going to give an example using ADHD (People disagree on whether it should be called a “mental illness,” but it’s still a good example of the principle). A lot of people diagnosed as ADHD are not really ADHD, b/c their hyper behavior is caused by something else. I believe a demon can cause a person’s mind to race, cause them to be frantic, etc. If that person’s brain has a normal amount of gray matter along with other things I can’t spell or pronounce, the person doesn’t really have ADHD. If something else is causing the behavior, and that thing gets better, whether it was a demon or something else, it will look like the person “recovered” from the ADHD they never had in the first place.
I’ve had Charismatic deliverance ministers try to cast ADHD demons out of me. I’ve had people tell me they “used to have ADD” but “outgrew” it. That means they never had it in the first place – they were just hyper. Maybe another mental illness such as depression, or a trauma, or too much sugar caused the behavior. Maybe it was a demon; or maybe their case was mild enough to learn to cope with and contain. Whatever it was, it wasn’t ADHD.
If a person truly has ADHD, there will be other traits caused by the same brain difference which aren’t necessarily considered bad, or noticeable. For instance, the same brain differences that cause ADD also cause “hyperfocus” in certain areas, which is considered a good thing. I have this. A person who doesn’t really have ADD won’t. So many people, such as college students, take Adderall or Ritalin to study. Those drugs will make any normal person a concentration powerhouse, b/c that persons brain already has the ability to make enough dopamine and norepinephrine, so the boost the drug gives is just a surplus, a bonus. I have to take Adderall just to come up to the level of a normal, dumb kid, LOL! Alcohol helps me concentrate, when it makes other people dumber. People who don’t have the other brain traits, but are misdiagnosed as having ADHD & then recover or “overcome” it, now they’re looking at me like, “What’s wrong with you then? I overcame it. Why can’t you?
I am bipolar, ADHD, and have major depression. Growing up in the Charismatic church where everything is a “demon” or a “demonic stronghold,” I was very emotionally damaged by this belief. I’m “using it as a crutch,” “lazy,” “just dumb,” or have demons that won’t leave because I refuse to stop sinning or renounce some kind of occultic activity. There were times I was advised to try to come down on my meds, because I was making good progress with demons being cast out, or “the Lord told” somebody He had delivered me. Following this advice, on two occasions, came close to costing me my life.
So overall, I’m all for uncovering and dealing with every possible demon a person has. I would be overjoyed to find out my bipolarity, ADHD, and whatever, is caused by a demon. Demons can be cast out. A messed up brain can’t. I’m open to that being a possibility and don’t rule it out. It would be great to actually get the stuff cast out, so I could qualify for health insurance, save thousands a year on medicine and psych visits, to be able to work like normal people and have more money, and be able to tell people what I do for a living when they ask.
But now that I’m becoming undeceived from all the junk I learned in the Charismatic church, I’m also better able to cope with the fact that this may not go away. As long as you’re treated and medicated, it’s not that bad. If it cannot be cast out, I can deal with it. If it can, even better!