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Still from 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose'

Is Schizophrenia Caused by Demonic Possession?

There is little doubt that in centuries past the condition we now know as schizophrenia would have been diagnosed as demonic possession. But that idea is also the topic of an article in the latest issue of The Journal of Religion and Health. In the article, Dr. Kemal Irmak, of the High Council of Science, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey, interprets the way in which diagnosed schizophrenics talk about their thoughts, feelings and surroundings being ‘controlled’ by other forces, in a surprising way:

The most common delusion types are as follows: “My feelings and movements are controlled by others in a certain way” and “They put thoughts in my head that are not mine.” Hallucinatory experiences are generally voices talking to the patient or among themselves. Hallucinations are a cardinal positive symptom of schizophrenia which deserves careful study in the hope it will give information about the pathophysiology of the disorder. We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus.

One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.

Link: Abstract: Schizophrenia or Possession?

(via Improbable Research)

  1. Demons
    People diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (a disputed condition) will have very different personality types that some studies have indicated cause distinct biological difference (blood pressure etc). They will often have no memory of other ‘personalities’ and thus ‘lose time’.

    If Descartes was right and there as a clear distinction between mind and body, then it is conceivable that more than one mind could inhabit the same body, thus resulting in a range of ‘psychological’ problems, possibly varying in intensity dependent upon the strength of the mind.

    Hallucinations could occur when another mind has dominance in controlling certain brain function (conscious or otherwise).

    Throw reincarnation into the mix and have a whole host of fun!

    ‘Demons’ is simply a word to describe something as yet unknown, in the same way ‘ghosts’ is. How I react to finding someone else in my head might well denote whether I consider them demonic or angelic!

    1. Certainly some demonic
      Certainly some demonic possessions mimic schizophrenia and vice versa. I watched several possessions live on TV. The kicker is though that possessions sometimes give the victim super powers like levitation – at least that is what family, friends, and church exorcists of the victim report. I have never actually seen a person levitate though I have seen objects do so in the presence of paranormal activity. A thoughtful question might also be “does schizophrenia grant superhuman powers to the sufferer.”

      Might as well toss kundalini crises into the mix as well:

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