Exorcisms anyone?

Posted
by EaglesWings21 EaglesWings21, ASN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Medical Surgical.

So just in time for Halloween I was reading about a demon possessed house in Indiana by Latoya Ammons. Apparently this is well documented and involved her children. If you google the DCS report that was made after taking her kids to the emergency room to seek treatment for abnormal behavior such as levitating, growling, and harming each other the DCS worker and other professionals saw one of the children wall backwards up the wall and do a flip that was not compatible with gravity. What are your thoughts, psych nurses? Have you ever witnessed any demon possessions or exorcisms?

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,577 Posts

What no link to the article - and why is this a subject for Psych Nurses?

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 6 years experience. 2,067 Posts

Never saw anyone levitate, walk up the wall backwards or anything.

I did have a patient that could read my mind. Gives me chills to think about it. I have no idea how she.knew what I was thinking about. It was nothing she could have known about from any other source, and it happened more than once. Freaky.

EaglesWings21, ASN, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. 380 Posts

That whole mind reading thing would be so disturbing!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,577 Posts

Zak Bagans' 'Demon House' movie warns, 'View at your own risk'

This is just one link. There are multiple sources that a quick google search would turn up. I put it under pysch nursing since demon possession can be identified as a mental health condition. Any suggestions for another topic home for this?

Maybe put this on the Blue side. As a psych nurse for 17 years I don't appreciate my patients being marginalized or cubby-holed into stereotypes.

But yes I have had a few that I thought an exorcism might work - not because I thought they were possessed but because they all suffered from fixed religious delusions.

Hppy

EaglesWings21, ASN, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. 380 Posts

I dont see how I could have possibly offended you by what subject i posted this topic in but let me elaborate further....

As a nurse I have had a patient that would go catatonic, not look anyone in the eye, randomly smacking people in the face including family members and nurses, saying odd religious statements repeatedly and other odd behaviors. She ended up leaving our floor to go to the PSYCH unit, so I am sure psych nurses have seen their fair share of things that im talking about.

In regards to how this ties to the story I posted, the doctors could find nothing wrong with these children and the hospital chaplain referred the family to a priest for an exorcism. I didnt know if anyone had heard of that happening in their line of work.

You can choose not to believe in external forces such as demons, but many people are spiritual people who believe there is much more to life that meets the eye and that demon possession is completely possible.

offlabel

offlabel

1,403 Posts

But yes I have had a few that I thought an exorcism might work - not because I thought they were possessed but because they all suffered from fixed religious delusions.

Hppy

Exorcism is not for mentally ill patients. They're of no value at all in that circumstance and would probably do harm. But there are physician specialists in psychiatry (as well as non physician) that recognize that demonic possession can look like mental illness but not be. These professionals do endorse exorcism when the situation calls for it.

There are plenty of other professionals that dismiss it as well. A quick google search will turn up both.

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing. 1,790 Posts

I dont see how I could have possibly offended you by what subject i posted this topic in but let me elaborate further....

As a nurse I have had a patient that would go catatonic, not look anyone in the eye, randomly smacking people in the face including family members and nurses, saying odd religious statements repeatedly and other odd behaviors. She ended up leaving our floor to go to the PSYCH unit, so I am sure psych nurses have seen their fair share of things that im talking about.

It is offensive because conflating mental illness with demonic possession perpetuates stigma around mental illness as being "of the devil" "evil" and "sign of sin" etc. and delegitimizes mental health issues as pathophysiologic processes, and/or coping mechanisms for extreme environmental stressors.

I have certainly seen things I can't explain, and very strongly believe that there can be a spiritual component affecting both mental and physical well-being. I love working with chaplain co-workers for the support they can offer patients (and families) experiencing spiritual or existential crisis. I do not however believe that mental illness is the result of demonic possession.

I've worked with many patients with catatonic features, those who made odd faces, responded to unseen/unheard stimuli, lashed out at others, found either distress or solace in religious themes, and displayed any number of odd behaviors. A good number of them have returned to independent functional lives with the combination of medication and psychotherapeutic support. No exorcism necessary.

offlabel

offlabel

1,403 Posts

It is offensive because conflating mental illness with demonic possession perpetuates stigma around mental illness as being "of the devil" "evil" and "sign of sin" etc. and delegitimizes mental health issues as pathophysiologic processes, and/or coping mechanisms for extreme environmental stressors.

I have certainly seen things I can't explain, and very strongly believe that there can be a spiritual component affecting both mental and physical well-being. I love working with chaplain co-workers for the support they can offer patients (and families) experiencing spiritual or existential crisis. I do not however believe that mental illness is the result of demonic possession.

I've worked with many patients with catatonic features, those who made odd faces, responded to unseen/unheard stimuli, lashed out at others, found either distress or solace in religious themes, and displayed any number of odd behaviors. A good number of them have returned to independent functional lives with the combination of medication and psychotherapeutic support. No exorcism necessary.

I think the distinction is being made here that demonic possession is not mental illness and vice versa, but that demonic possession can be confused for mental illness. Sometimes they look exactly the same. Demonic possession is extremely rare so the first assumption of the practitioner when confronted by psychotic behavior is that the patient is mentally ill. Demonic possession should be the last thing on the differential list. The best way to demonstrate that a patient is mentally ill and not demon possessed is to diagnose correctly and treat successfully.

That said, as rare as it is, it exists. For an authentic presentation of what exorcism is and isn't, find journalist Matt Baglio's 2009 book, "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist"

EaglesWings21, ASN, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. 380 Posts

Offlabel that is what I'm trying to say. It often presents as a mental illness and that is why I posted it under psych nursing. I do not believe that every mental illness is the result of demonic possession. I understand it is rare but I was wondering what everyone's take was on the article I posted and if they had ever seen anything like it.

I have said before and said again I do not like posting here a lot because if you are not in the core group that gets on here all the time you constantly get nitpicked and attacked for what you post. I was absolutely not trying to categorize all mental health patients as demonically possessed but pysch nurses would be the most experienced in seeing this sort of thing.

My uncle was hospitalized in the 80's for schizophrenia and would often go catatonic and make horrifying claims and statements regarding religious situations. My dad said he went to visit him one time and the look in his eyes were pure evil. I love my uncle and treat him just like any other person in my family. I believe being around him my whole life has given me patience and understanding for people with mental illness that is life changing and debilitating.