When treatment for schizophrenia or other mental illness does not follow proper protocols, the results can be extreme deviant behaviors, often resulting in violent crimes. Because of the deinstutionlization of the mentally ill, the criminal justice system now increasingly has become the destination of mentally ill and developmentally disabled individuals, especially those who are ethnic minorities (Kupers, 1999). Often, the choice for the justice system is to either treat the offender's mental illness and ignore their criminality, or to ignore their mental illness and punish their criminality. Unfortunately, few states have the facilities or resources to deal with both of these types of problems at the same time. As a result, many mentally ill offenders wind up in the general population of the prison system with little or no psychological treatment.
Early Christians had a difficult time recognizing schizophrenia as a mental disorder and not as a demonic possession or a punishment from God. According to Adams (1976):
"Sin, the violation of God's laws, has both direct and indirect consequences that account for all of the bizarre behavior of schizophrenics. That is why Christians must refuse to ignore the biblical data. From the perspective of these Scriptural data all faulty behavior (which for the Christian is behavior that does not conform to the law of God) stems ultimately from the fundamental impairment of each human being at birth in consequence of the corruption of mankind resulting from the fall. No perfect human beings are born by ordinary generation. They all inherit the fallen nature of Adam together with its organic and moral defects that lead to all faulty (including all bizarre) behavior. No aspect of a human being, no function has escaped the distorting effects of sin. To some extent, therefore, the same problems seen in schizophrenics are common to all. The differences lie in (1) what bodily functions are impaired, (2) how severely, and (3) what sinful life responses have been developed by the counselee. It is also vital to ask whether the individual is redeemed by the grace of God, since redemption involves a gradual renewal of human nature (cf. Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10)."
In this day and age, it seems unfathomable that people would still equate mental illness with sin and punishment, however if one adheres to the Biblical passages referenced above, then any type of infliction must be viewed as something requires redemption. Anything that requires redemption must be born of sin, so then it logically follows that schizophrenia is born of sin.
Experts still are not entirely sure of the causes of schizophrenia, and there is no definitive way to prevent it. However it can be well-managed with the proper regimen of psychotherapy and pharmaceutical intervention. More research needs to be done into the causes of schizophrenia so that an actual cure that eradicates the disease entirely could potentially be developed.
Adams, J.E. (1976) the Christian approach to schizophrenia in the Construction of Madness: Emerging Conceptions and Interventions into the Psychotic Process. University of Maine
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