Anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time in their lives. It is also something that many people can fight off by various psychological strategies for e.g. telling ourselves that our fears are irrational, by prayer i.e. by “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), or simply by forcing ourselves to face our fears and push through them.
As a result of the universality of fear, I think many Christians struggle with accepting the idea of anxiety disorders as an illness. In fact anxiety disorders can be very severe, in common with the other major groups of disorders (depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Psychotic disorders). What we are talking about here is anxiety that you can’t simply ignore or “pull yourself together” over. We are talking about anxiety that is crushing, that grips the heart, that can come on from nowhere, and that can be very disabling.
Anxiety disorders are subdivided as follows