DEFINITION:   Mental illness is any impairment of an individual’s mental capacities that affects cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning.   Synonyms are mental disease or mental disorder.


    Causes of mental illness.  Mental illness can be caused by infections, prenatal damage, substance abuse, brain injuries, and even poor nutrition.  Heredity can make a person more susceptible to mental illness. Severe psychological trauma such as emotional or sexual abuse can also result in mental illness, as can post traumatic stress disorders.  Some mental disorders are caused by Satan, as in the case of the Gadarene demoniac (Mark 5).  Satan, of course, is behind all illness in the world including mental afflictions.

    The range of mental illnesses.  Mental illness can range from impairment caused by depression all the way to full-blown schizophrenia which may render a person totally dysfunctional.

    The root cause of mental illness.  As in all dysfunctions in the human body, mental illness exists in the world because of sin, but it is not necessarily the result of a person’s personal sin.


    Determine the root cause of the mental illness. If it is a medical condition–a brain injury, birth defect, etc.–then the person may not be accountable for their behavior.  If the mental illness is caused by unresolved issues, a person must be held responsible for their behavior and correct it.  Read the account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s mental illness in Daniel chapter 4.  His mental issues resulted from his spiritual condition and were corrected when he acknowledged the true God.

    Acknowledge that God is greater than mental illness.  What is impossible with man is possible with God  (Luke 18:27).

    Pray for forgiveness.  If a mental condition is due to spiritual issues, repent of any transgressions and ask God for mental and emotional healing.

    Seek God for healing.  No matter what your mental condition, God’s power is greater.   Jesus had and still has the power to heal mental illness.  See the examples in Matthew 17:13-18 where a boy kept throwing himself in the fire and in Matthew 4:24 where lunatics received healing.

    Use legitimate medical options.  Legitimate medicines are a gift from God to aid in healing–both physical and mental.  These should not be the first line of attack, however.  Prayer for healing and deliverance should be made first and, if necessary, medical options used until the healing is manifested.



    You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

    Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:2-5)

    Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”   (Luke 18:27)

    Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:2)

    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5)

    Read the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s mental illness and subsequent healing in Daniel chapter 4.

    (See also “Mind And Thoughts” in this database.)

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