When people are burdened by fear, worry, and anxiety, they struggle to live productive, happy lives. These same feelings propel them headlong into excesses. Often, they are focused on the negativity associated with their excesses, such as obesity or alcoholism or addiction to pornography.
They want help to “just stop” whatever those things are that have taken control over their lives, as if those things were merely actions. It is a deeper issue, however, to work through their fear at the heart of those actions. Often, the source has been blown completely out of proportion. They are consumed with the what-ifs and what-about instead of recognizing the what-is.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost seven million adults will experience a condition known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in any given year.  GAD is a chronic condition where a person lives with anxiety, worry, and tension, even when there is little outside reason for it. This fear is accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.  It’s as if you’re all ready for the fight of your life but can’t really see who your enemy is. The true enemy is fear.
Generalized anxiety disorder falls under the category of anxiety disorders, which also includes panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, and other phobias (such as agoraphobia).
All of these conditions have at their base fear, worry, and anxiety. These can be hard taskmasters when acceded to and given control over your life. When those negative feelings take on larger-than-life proportions, they produce feelings of panic and dread even on a day when the sky is blue, the air is clean, and the sun is shining. The more feelings of panic they produce, the more apt you are to seek out behaviors that produce reassurance that all is well — or, at least, all is well for right now. Excesses can become a close-your-eyes, plug-your-ears, sing-la-la-la-la activity to drown out the drumbeat of fear, worry, and anxiety.
Unreasonable fear is fear that is outside its boundaries. This is fear that has no relation to reality. Unreasonable fear says because it has happened before, it must always happen, and there is no margin of error. Unreasonable fear says that “might” or “could” must be interpreted as “will” and “should.” Unreasonable fear demands a preeminent place in our lives, dictating what we will do, where we will go, how we will feel, what we will forfeit, and what we will value. Unreasonable fear is our creation and is not the kind of fear that God wants us to live.
People with social phobias believe other people have the power to embarrass and humiliate them, so they fear social situations. In truth, the only power of that kind is the power you give to someone. Open the gate of fear to other people, and you will find yourself corralled. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder believe their rituals hold the key to controlling fear. In truth, their rituals control them by keeping them chained to their fear. People with generalized anxiety disorder live daily keeping their eyes to the ground, watching for any sign of something to fear, often oblivious to the true storm clouds forming in the sky above. this produces a life spent fearing the wrong things and suffering for it — as well as missing the right things and suffering for that, too.
If you or a loved one is struggling with fear and anxiety, we invite you to seek out treatment at The Center • A Place of Hope. Treatment begins with a free personal phone call with one of our specialists. Ask yourself “What is fear doing to my life?” Then realize that help is available and that a life free of this condition is within your reach.
The Center • A Place of HOPE specializes in the treatment of anxiety and depression and uses a whole-person approach that allows you to discover what is truly going on in mind, body and spirit. Contact us today at 1-888-771-5166 and begin the healing process.
 “the Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America,” National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml.
 “Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/panic-disorder/index.shtml.