Why mental illnesses are mistaken for demonic possession

While demonic possession and mental illness may share similar symptoms, the two also have very stark differences. Here are some of them.



Reaction to religious iconography

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A person possessed by a demonic spirit experiences major aversion to anything resembling Christ such as crucifixes, holy water, and the Bible. Conversely, a person with mental illness is not affected in any way.

Speech

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New Testament accounts refer to demons as creatures who spoke quite rationally, as opposed to the mentally ill who tend to speak nonsense or jump from topic to topic.

Superhuman abilities

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A person whose body has been taken over by demons may develop superhuman strength, levitating capabilities, or the ability to speak in tongues. On the other hand, a mentally ill person’s actions remain at human capacity.


Impact on the people around them

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Demonic possessions may directly affect surrounding people physically through flying objects, trances, telepathy, and the like. This is not the case for mental illness, whose effect may lean more towards the emotional side.

Treatment

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While intense prayer and religious rituals can rid one of a demonic possession, it cannot do so for mental illness. In the same vein, anything that can be cured by medicine is not a demonic possession.


See how this difference plays out. Catch Maledicto in cinemas nationwide this May 1, 2019.

Sources:

https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/demonic-possession-mental-illness.html

https://nnmh.ca/blog/when-mental-illness-is-mistaken-for-demonic-possession/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25208453

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