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What does the Bible say about panic attacks?

Symptoms of panic attacks include a racing heart, sweaty palms, an upset stomach, dizziness, faintness, lethargy, and in some cases, a sudden fear of death. Panic attacks come over individuals quickly and can leave a person in a state of panic, fear, and exhaustion. Panic attacks can feel like the world is ending and nothing seems to help the rising anxiety. These types of attacks tend to make a person to feel extremely fearful of social events or trying new things simply because a panic attack may occur. Panic attacks can often cause a person to feel out of breath or compel them sit down and close their eyes.

Having a panic attack is not a sin. Panic attacks are often rooted in deeply seated fears or past trauma. God doesn’t want you to live in fear, for He has a BIG plan for your future (Jeremiah 29:11). God asks us to be brave and trust that He’ll help us be strong when we feel weak or out of control (2 Timothy 1:7).

If you or a loved one suffers from panic attacks, it would be wise to seek help from a therapist or a doctor. God can work through doctors, therapists, and counselors to help a person get better. Panic attacks do not have to control a person’s life. God doesn’t promise anyone a life without anxiety, but He does give us peace in Jesus.

How can I overcome panic attacks?

The Bible doesn’t specifically mention panic attacks, though we can find some evidence of emotional episodes that sound a lot like them. David was very familiar with overwhelming fear. He laments in Psalm 55:4-5, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.” This is an accurate description of a panic attack.

What helped him when the fear and panic rose within Him? Calling out to God in prayer (Psalm 55:16-18) and throwing his fear on God's shoulders (Psalm 55:22-23). David found peace for his soul when he trusted in God.

During a peaceful moment, take time to identify any triggers that might cause a panic attack. Learn breathing exercises, memorize a calming passage in the Bible (such as Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 34:4, or John 14:27), and talk to God regularly about the things that cause fear. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

God gladly welcomes us to throw our anxieties, worries, and fears to Him. He knows we aren’t strong enough on our own to handle these situations. When we give our struggles over to God, He will help us.

Learning to Leave Fear Behind

Trusting in God can help us begin to leave our fear behind. Most of the things that cause us fear won't last forever and often have no eternal significance. They're temporary. Rather than giving in to fear, we can trust that God will take care of us (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33).

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." —Proverbs 3:5-6

Learning to Trust God

God is completely worthy of our trust because He loves us so immeasurably that He chose to create us, die for us, forgive us for rejecting Him, and grant us eternal life in paradise (John 3:16-17). Learning more about Him in the Bible helps us learn to start trusting Him. With time and practice, trusting Him will become easier and easier. And if a panic attack is triggered, turning to Him for help may someday become second nature.

Allow God’s peace to wash over you once you give your fears to Him. The Bible tells us to think about good things and healthy thoughts (Philippians 4:8). When we focus our thoughts on God and give our fears to Him, we can receive God’s peace, which surpasses our own understanding (Philippians 4:7). God can protect our hearts from fear and anxiety as we continue to trust in Him.

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TL;DR

The Bible doesn’t mention panic attacks by name, though it does describe some instances of intense fear that sound a lot like panic attacks. God does not want us to live our lives in fear—or even fear of fear. Panic attacks are rooted in past fears or trauma, and we can give our fears and worries to God (1 Peter 5:7). When we give our fears to Him, we can receive the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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