Friday, October 14, 2011

Childhood Schizophrenia or a Battle for the Mind?

A few months ago my roommate shared an incredibly interesting article with me. This article is about a 7-year-old girl names January. What makes January's story so intriguing is that this precious little girl has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Now, for those of you who are not aware, Schizophrenia does not typically show up until late adolescence/early adulthood which makes January's case extremely rare. January was diagnosed at age 5 when her parents were forced to hospitalize her not only for her own safety, but the safety of her younger brother as well. January loved her younger brother, but frequently and without warning would lash out in extremely violent outbursts toward him. These attacks became so intense that the parents actually kept the brother separate from January by living in two different apartments.

January has been hospitalized on multiple occasions has seen several psychiatrists and specialists, all of whom stated over and over how rare her condition was. Medication after medication has been tried, unsuccessfully. I was particularly interesting in a statement made by January's father regarding her symptoms. He stated: "We've come to understand what her baseline is -- she's always a little bit psychotic -- and she hallucinates about 95 percent of the time... She has so many hallucinations. When the medications work against one set, another set emerges to take its place. It's like fighting an insurgency."

This comment captured my attention and I began to think about Neil Anderson's book Bondage Breaker. In this book Anderson shares example after example of people who have fallen under the bondage or oppression of demonic influence. By no means do I want to pretend I am a psychiatrist and have all the answers, but the words from his book and the examples of people who have been oppressed and delivered continued to ring in my mind as I read the story of this precious child. The fact that medication only helps in sedating January, but never really "cures" her leads me to believe that perhaps January is not fighting against something organic or chemical, but instead is in a fight against something that is not of this world.

I think the thing that strikes me the most out of all of the story is the parent's reaction. In the blog that gives January's story from beginning to end and the article shared above, the parents share their feelings of hopelessness. They have since come to accept that this is their life, and they will just have to adapt, yet it breaks my heart to hear this. Parents just want the best for their children. Imagine having to sit by and watch as your child fights a continuous battle between reality and fantasy. Imagine as you watch her conquer these hallucinations one moment and lose to them the very next.

I don't know if they family has considered the possibility of a spiritual implication over a mental illness, but I do pray that somehow this family finds peace, and perhaps some how this child can find a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.


  1. Great post! wow, I love how Anderson has got us all thinking a little outside of our naturalist boxes =). Before bondage breaker, I would never have even thought that something spiritual could have been happening in January's case. Even my neighbor, Ken, suffers from chest pain and shortness of breath, but the doctors have no answer for him after numerous painful procedures. I dont want to sound like a crazy person, but what if this issue is spiritual? I really do like how this class had added a new component to how I view reality. I always believed that a spiritual world existed, but I never really applied that to reality. I am excited about how I come to integrate this insight into what I hope will be my profession some day. I enjoyed this post.

  2. I find this interesting myself, and wonder what the real cause is for this little girl. Determining whether something is "psychological" or "spiritual" has always been a struggle for me, and more specifically which approach should be taken to cure a patient. If a problem if psychological, do you use medication or prayer? As Christians what levels of faith and common sense are we supposed to practice? Just some questions to consider.

  3. It's good that you point this out Cmnelms. I have been working with clients who are diagnosed with a variety of disorders since 2008. The clients were anywhere from 3 months to 90 years of age. The disorders included Asperger's, Dementia, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, different Cancers and Mental retardation. Biblically, Jesus ministered to people who were crippled or had mental struggles. I always wonder what is God's purpose in allowing these conditions. I believe that medicine and prayer can work together. I have worked closely with these populations. I see what their parents go through and there is a sense of obligation and hopelessness. I have also seen parents or family members that want to depend of the help of society instead of be actively involved trying to help their family member struggling themselves. Anybody who is directly effected by this should definitely be aware of spiritual manipulations. God never leaves us nor forsakes us (Heb 13:5). He is our very present help in the time of trouble (Pslm 46:1). I keep these families in my prayers. I have also seen clients that pass away. It is like wow, life is so fragile. Families faced with these problems daily should never lose faith, there is a God who cares.

  4. This is a very interesting case. When I first started reading I couldn't believe how young she was to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. I had always wondered (before reading Bondage Breaker) how to tell if someone is under spiritual attack or if they are experiencing psychotic episodes. The fact that medication is not alleviating symptoms like hallucinations leads me to think it might be spiritual. I have met and interacted with a few schizophrenic people and they no longer experience symptoms because they are medicated. I wonder how the family would respond to someone sending them a copy of Bondage Breaker?


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