Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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How can you determine whether somebody is demon possessed or mentally ill? I came across somebody at the hospital that was under a mental health assessment. As I was looking after her, she would concentrate to the left and speak to what I thought was the devil. I started to pray for her in my conscious stating that if she was mentally ill, for god to heal her or if she was possessed that in the name our Lord Jesus Christ to come out! All of the sudden, she started to look to her left and started screaming, "leave me alone, you Egyptians. I hate you all." She repeated that loudly three times. At this point, I was confused whether that was a coincidence or whether the evil spirit knew I was praying for her. She does not know who I am and does not know I am Egyptian. She actually got me mixed up with another Middle Eastern man. What should I do in this regard?

Mental illness and demonic possession have different criteria. Demon exorcisms are a spiritual gift and are still applied today by certain priests and monks. In addition, there is also a third factor called "demonic influence," which can account for many vile acts. Patients with mental health issues are not intellectually disabled. Your patient may be very intelligent and have heard others speak about you and your heritage. Demons do not know our thoughts or the future. Only God, and to whom He wishes to reveal this.

This article differentiates between demonic possession and demonic influence.:
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