10 Things Every Christian Needs To Know About Schizophrenia by David Lee Chu Sarchet
Schizophrenia is a very complex mental disorder and there is a lot of ignorance surrounding it. In this blog, I will give you five facts that everyone needs to know concerning this disorder in the hopes that it will eliminate the stigma against it. However, before I do that I think a brief history of the origins of schizophrenia will suffice.
The Origin Of Schizophrenia
The first recorded breakthrough of the discovery of Schizophrenia came in the 19th century from a doctor named Emil Kraeplin. He was the director of a psychiatric clinic at the university of Estonia. He originally used the term Dementia Praecox, or premature dementia. Even though his work was not finished, his discovery did begin to start to distinguish this disorder from other clinical mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder. Eventually, along came a man named Eugan Bleuler who would coin the term Schizophrenia after building upon Dr. Kraeplin’s work.
These ten facts I will be sharing with you about Schizophrenia are not exhaustive and these are not the only facts either. However, these facts I feel are the most important for people to understand. If you or someone you know struggle with Schizophrenia, you will do well to keep these facts in mind. If you do this, then you will understand how this disease needs to be treated.
After you read these facts, please comment below any other facts you would like to share.
1) Schizophrenia Is Not Multiple Personality Disorder (AKA Disassociative Identity Disorder)
This is probably the most commonly misunderstood fact. I have run into so many people who seem to confuse Schizopherenia with DID and I have to constantly correct them. At one time, the two were thought to be the same but in modern times we understand that these two are two entirely different and distinct mental disorders. We should not confuse one for the other anymore. People with Schizophrenia do not typically have multiple personalities.
2) Schizophrenia Is On A Spectrum
This is also a very important fact for people to remember because Schizophrenia does not affect all people the same exact way. Some of us only get paranoid while others only have hallucinations and delusions and some others will experience both. Some of us also have a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar, combined with our schizophrenia. No two people with schizophrenia are quite alike.
3) Schizophrenia Is Not Demonic
This is probably the most infuriating fact that needs to be addressed because so many Christians seem to be under the impression that Schizophrenia is demon possession rather than a chemical imbalance in the brain. I understand that those who want to believe this nonsense are doing so because they want to spiritualize everything, but not everything needs to be spiritualized.
We live in a broken and fallen world and because of that our bodies and brains are subject to decay. It is actually quite remarkable how much the biblical authors went out of their way to distinguish what they understood as “madness” from what they recognized as demon possession.Tweet
We live in a broken and fallen world and because of that our bodies and brains are subject to decay. The idea that Schizophrenia is demonic is found nowhere in Scripture and it stems from the Roman Catholic Church. It is actually quite remarkable how much the biblical authors went out of their way to distinguish what they understood as “madness” from what they recognized as demon possession.
4) Schizophrenia Can Lead Us Into Sin, But It Does Not Excuse Our Sin
I understand that this statement can get me in some hot water with some of my more strict Christian brothers and sisters, but please hear me out. I am not by any means justifying sin. We have no excuse before God for our sin and rebellion against Him. However, Schizophrenia can provide the context for certain sins.
For example, if I honestly believed that the CIA was watching my every move and that if I left my bed they would blow my house up, then I would not leave my bed. Laziness is a sin, but my delusion led me into that sin.
5) Schizophrenia Can Be Managed Primarily Through Medication And Counseling
I know that psychiatric medication and secular counseling is anathema in certain Christian circles, but people with Schizophrenia certainly do need them. It is actually very dangerous to tell us not to take medication and see a therapist because without them our illness will increasingly grow worse until we are either dead or in prison.
6) Proper Diet And Exercise Can Help Symptoms
It is a proven fact that with a proper diet and plenty of exercise, it will make it easier for us to manage our symptoms, but these should never replace medication and counseling.
7) Schizophrenia Is Usually Hereditary And Rarely Caused By Drug Abuse
It is a known fact that Schizophrenia is passed through generations and some professionals have even speculated that it is passed through the mother’s side of the family. Schizophrenia can be caused by excessive drug abuse, but it is not typical.
8) Stress Exacerbates Schizophrenia Symptoms
It is vitally important for those of us with Schizophrenia absolutely need to remain in low-stress environments. The reason for this is because stress often causes our hallucinations and delusions to become worse.
9) On MRI Brain Scan, A Schizophrenic Brain Looks Significantly Different From A Normal Brain
This is important because it proves that Schizophrenia is solely a brain disease. It is not some spiritual entity or force. It is a medical condition that needs to be treated medically.
10) Hallucinations And Delusions Are Not Always Negative
I often hear people question why our hallucinations and delusions often seem negative, but this is not always the case. There are many instances where our voices are friendly and are just providing commentary about our daily activities. There are other occasions where our delusions cause us to believe we are better than we are. Sometimes we even believe our hallucinations and delusions are causing us to be more in touch with the spirit realm.
I hope that this blog has helped you better understand Schizophrenia and I hope that you will pass this on to someone else. Next time you come across someone with Schizophrenia, maybe you will keep these ten facts in mind as you communicate with them.
-David Lee Chu Sarchet
Christian Mental Health Advocate
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