Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 11) - Panic Attacks, Overcoming Anxiety (Part A)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, October 29, 2023.
Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 11) - Panic Attacks, Overcoming Anxiety (Part A) IV. Panic 1. Definitions A. Panic adj. and n. – A. adj. 1. In panic fear, terror, etc.: Such as was attributed to the action of the god Pan: B. 2. b. Of the nature of or resulting from a panic; exhibiting unreasoning, groundless, or excessive fear. B. n. 1. Contagious emotion such as was ascribed to the influence of Pan. Obs. 2. a. (= panic fear, terror, etc.; see A. 1): A sudden and excessive feeling of alarm or fear, usually affecting a body of persons, originating in some real or supposed danger vaguely apprehended, and leading to extravagant or injudicious efforts to secure safety. B. Panic v. – 1. trans. To affect with panic. 2. intr. To get into a panic, to lose one’s head. C. A panic attack causes sudden, unreasonable, and excessive fear. D. A panic attack will make one feel like he is losing his mind. 2. Examples of people in the Bible who had panic attacks. A. King David experienced what would be today called a “panic attack.” i. His heart was “sore pained” within him (Psa 55:4a). a. Heart n. – I. The simple word. * The bodily organ, its function, region, etc. 1. a. The hollow muscular or otherwise contractile organ which, by its dilatation and contraction, keeps up the circulation of the blood in the vascular system of an animal. ** As the seat of feeling, understanding, and thought. 5. a. = mind, in the widest sense, including the functions of feeling, volition, and intellect. 6. a. The seat of one's inmost thoughts and secret feelings; one's inmost being; the depths of the soul; the soul, the spirit. 9. a. The seat of the emotions generally; the emotional nature, as distinguished from the intellectual nature placed in the head. b. Sore adv. – 3. With verbs of grieving, annoying, etc.: So as to cause mental pain or irritation; deeply, intensely. 4. With great grief, distress, or perturbation of mind; in such a manner or to such an extent as to involve or manifest this. c. Pained ppl. adj. – Affected with pain (physical or mental); hurt, distressed, grieved, etc.: see the verb; expressing or indicating pain. d. Extreme emotional pain caused by fear are characteristic of panic attacks. e. Physical chest pains are also common during panic attacks. f. Whether speaking literally or figuratively about his heart being sore pained, David was likely suffering a panic attack as verse 5 strongly indicates. ii. The terrors of death fell upon him (Psa 55:4b). a. Terror n. – 1. The state of being terrified or greatly frightened; intense fear, fright, or dread. b. Terror is panic, which is “exhibiting…excessive fear.” iii. Fearfulness and trembling came upon him (Psa 55:5a). a. Fearfulness n. – The quality of inspiring fear; dreadfulness. 2. The quality or state of being affected with fear; timidity, timorousness. b. Tremble v. – 1. intr. – Of persons (less commonly of animals), or of the body or a limb: To shake involuntarily as with fear or other emotion, cold, or weakness; to quake, quiver, shiver. c. Panic attacks sometimes cause people to shake uncontrollably. iv. Horror overwhelmed him (Psa 55:5b). a. Horror n. – 1. a. Roughness, ruggedness. 3. a. A painful emotion compounded of loathing and fear; a shuddering with terror and repugnance; strong aversion mingled with dread; the feeling excited by something shocking or frightful. Also in weaker sense, intense dislike or repugnance. (The prevalent use at all times.) b. Overwhelm v. – 1. trans. To overturn, overthrow, upset; to turn upside down. 3. fig. a. To overcome or overpower as regards one’s action or circumstances; to bring to ruin or destruction; to crush. b. To overcome completely in mind or feeling; to overpower utterly with some emotion. c. I have experienced this very feeling, and the terribleness of it is beyond description. v. David desperately wanted to escape from the terrible fear that was afflicting him (Psa 55:6-8). vi. Anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack knows what that feels like. B. The Babylonians would suffer a panic attack when the Lord’s judgment came upon them (Isa 13:1, 6). i. Their hands became faint, they were afraid, pain took hold on them, they were amazed (stunned and stupefied), and their faces were as flames (Isa 13:7-8). ii. This is characteristic of a panic attack. a. One becomes weak (v.7). b. Fear takes hold on him with frightening grip (v.8). c. He feels pain in his chest and other places in the body (v.8). d. It is often accompanied with sorrow and depression (v.8). e. He cannot think straight (v.8). f. Amazed adj. - 1. Driven stupid; stunned or stupefied, as by a blow; out of one's wits. 2. Bewildered, confounded, confused, perplexed. Of things: Thrown into confusion. g. His face becomes flushed and hot (v.8). C. Isaiah had a panic attack when he saw a vision of the destruction of Babylon (Isa 21:1-4). i. A grievous vision of the destruction of Babylon was declared to Isaiah (Isa 21:2). a. Grievous adj. – 1. a. Pressing heavily upon a person (or persons), burdensome, oppressive. 2. a. Of things, events, accidents, etc.: Bringing serious trouble or discomfort; having injurious effects; causing hurt or pain. (Now only with mixture of sense 5 – ‘grievous to think of’ – qualifying intensely a sb. (noun) denoting something painful or injurious.) 5. Causing mental pain or distress. Now with narrowed sense: Exciting grief or intense sorrow. b. The vision Isaiah saw caused him intense mental pain, trouble, discomfort, and distress. ii. The grievous vision caused his loins to be filled with pain (Isa 21:3a). a. Pangs, like the pangs of child birth, took hold on him (Isa 21:3b). b. Pang n. – 1. A brief keen spasm of pain which appears suddenly to pierce or shoot through the body or any part of it; a shooting pain. 2. fig. A sudden sharp mental pain or feeling of intense mental anguish. c. During a panic attack, fear can shoot across the mind and body and cause intense mental and physical anguish. iii. He was dismayed at the seeing of the vision (Isa 21:3c). a. Dismayed ppl. - Overwhelmed with fear, etc.; appalled. b. Isaiah became overwhelmed with fear by what he saw. c. He couldn’t control his fear. iv. His heart panted (palpitated) (Isa 21:4a). a. Pant v. – 1. intr. To breath hard or spasmodically, as when out of breath; to draw quick laboured breaths, as from exertion or agitation; to gasp for breath. 3. To throb or heave violently or rapidly; to palpitate, pulsate, beat: said of the heart, bosom, etc.; also of the blood. (cites Psa 38:10 and Isa 21:4) b. Isaiah was having rapid heart palpitations because of his fear. c. This is exactly what happens to people during a panic attack. v. Fearfulness affrighted him (Isa 21:4b). a. This is one of the causes of panic attacks: the fear of fear. b. Once fear sets in, the body starts producing adrenaline which energizes the nerves. c. The feeling of fear causes fear of the fearful feeling, which results in more fear. d. The vicious cycle repeats quickly until a full panic attack ensues. vi. The troubling vision took away his happiness and turned it into fear (Isa 21:4c). a. His sleep was likely taken from him (the night of his pleasure). b. Panic attacks often happen to people after they lie down in bed to sleep. V. How to deal with fear, anxiety, and panic 1. Always go to the Lord first for deliverance from your fear, anxiety, and panic. A. The LORD is a strength to the needy in distress (Isa 25:4). B. Don’t make the mistake of going to doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, or other people for help before going to the Lord (2Ch 16:12). i. Don’t pooh-pooh or make light of seeking deliverance from God through reading the scriptures and praying in favor of humanistic ideas. ii. Don’t say to yourself, “yeah, I know the pastor told me to go to the Lord for help, but I need professional help.” iii. Help from other people may be necessary, and God may use others to help you, but make sure you go to the Lord for help first before seeking help from others. iv. Ezra serves as a good example of trusting in the Lord for deliverance instead of men (Ezr 8:22-23). a. Ezra had publicly stated that God’s hand was with them that seek him (v. 22). b. When hard times came, he decided to live what he preached and did not ask for help from the king (vv. 22-23). c. He and his people instead fasted and besought the Lord, and the Lord helped them (v. 23). d. I have tried to follow this principle when dealing with anxiety without medication. (i) I do not think it is sinful or wrong to use medication to help deal with anxiety. (ii) I am not in any way condemning people who have used, or do use, medication to help them overcome anxiety. (iii) Not using medication for anxiety should never be done so that one can be proud or boast that he did not use medication. (iv) I have decided to make an earnest effort to overcome my anxiety without medication because I have found so much instruction in the Bible on how to do so with God’s help. (v) But I am not saying that I will never take medication if it becomes absolutely necessary. C. Be very cautious about taking anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication, as they can be very difficult and dangerous to get off of. i. I know people who have used these medications to help get them “over the hump” of severe anxiety, and were subsequently able to get off of them without bad side-effects. ii. I also know people who had a very hard time getting off of these medications, or were never able to get off of them. iii. If you decide to take prescription medication for anxiety or depression, be sure to create a clearly defined exit strategy with your doctor before you begin. iv. Anxiety medication is only a temporary fix to help get a person past a severe bout of symptoms, but it should not be a permanent solution in most instances. a. “The right medication can turn off or lower the volume of the alarms. If they’re helpful for a season, take them. In the short term, medication can be a wonderful way to tone down the alarms that are constantly ringing, giving you a chance to catch your breath and do the deeper work that leads to lasting change.” (John Delony, Redefining Anxiety, pp. 19-20) b. “Once again, I’m oversimplifying here, but at the end of the day, all anxiety medications do is dial down or temporarily turn off the alarms. Silencing the alarm doesn’t fix the problem. It doesn’t stop the anxiety raging in your heart, in your relationships, or in your past. In almost every situation, medication is not a long-term solution to anxiety. You are.” (Ibid, p. 20) v. Despite a huge increase in the use of anxiety medications in recent times, the problem is getting worse, not better. a. “But understand this: despite a massive increase in the use of medications for anxiety, no country in the world is seeing a reduction in the number of diagnoses. Despite billions and billions of dollars spent on anxiety medications, the anxiety problem is only getting worse.” (Ibid, p. 16) b. Based on the fact that over 40 million Americans suffer with anxiety, and Americans are heavily medicated, it appears that anxiety medication is not a very good long-term solution to the problem.
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