by Ed Welch at CCEF
If someone tells you she has panic attacks, how do you begin to use Scripture as your guide? (I am choosing panic attacks almost randomly. It is one of a dozen or so psychiatric diagnoses that is relatively common and not clearly identified in Scripture.)
Get a description
First you have to know the basic description of a panic attack. You can get this from two sources: the person, or the more formal criteria in American Psychiatric Associations Manual, the DSM-IV. The two descriptions will usually be similar but not identical. You might as well get both.
Here is the DSM-IV criteria. Let’s say that many of them match the person’s experience. The symptoms start abruptly and reach a peak in around ten minutes. They include at least four of the following: accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, feeling of being short of breath or choking, chest discomfort, nausea, feeling light-headed, feeling detached from the rest of the world, fear of losing control, fear of dying, numbness, chills, or hot flashes.
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