Anxiety, Worry, or Fear
Note to Pastors: Whenever there is stress, a certain amount of “anxiety” is expected. But for some people the anxiety can become excessive, and come at unpredictable times. When this anxiety becomes uncontrollable, and negatively impacts their day to day lives, we call this an “anxiety disorder.”
For Christians, having an anxiety disorder is more than just disabling. Because our Lord tells us “not to worry…” many Christians will also interpret their anxiety, or excessive worry, as a “sin” or “lack of faith,” when it may be entirely caused by medical issues.
Anxiety, worry, and fear are all related to each other, but they are not necessarily from the same root problem. Each of them is caused by the release of certain stress hormones, but the reason for those hormones being released is different in each case. There are a variety of “anxiety disorders” including:
- “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”
- “Panic Disorder”
- “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”
- “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”
Anxiety can come from a variety of causes. Typically we think of environmental or psychological causes such as living through a serious trauma, or experiencing significant grief. But there are also likely genetic factors, and childhood issues can play a role. The more losses one suffers during childhood, the more likely one is to suffer from anxiety disorders as an adult.
“Worry” and “Fear” can be significant problems too. While there are certainly neurological factors involved in chronic worry or fear, they are also related to our human ability to look into the future with our God-given imaginations. This ability is often both the cause, and the remedy, for daily worry or fear.
Douglas Cowan is available to provide workshops or counseling for depression and anxiety disorders. Please call (661) 972-5953 for more information.