What is the Biblical cure for neuroticism, anxiety-depressive disorder?
The Bible talked more about obedience and God’s faithfulness rather than worry or anxiety. It is not to say people in the old world did not have concerns, but they were more dependent on God’s grace. Hence, an answered prayer was synonymous with healing.
Today, we live in a complicated society where much of our concerns go beyond necessities. As a result, anxiety has become a common mental illness, affecting most developed countries. [ADAA]
Neurosis or obsessive anxiety disorder
Characteristic of neurosis: [A]
Neurosis is a disorder involving obsessive thoughts or anxiety. Nearly one-half of those clinically diagnosed with depression have an anxiety disorder. It affects 25.1% of children, while among adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is about 3.1%. [ADAA]
The general symptoms include depression, anxiety or restlessness, antisocial personality, OCD, hysteria, irritability, wrath or anger, social phobia, and unhappy thoughts and feelings. Chronic stress can lead to the following:
- Difficulty in changing life patterns
- Difficulty in developing a richer personality
- Extreme sadness
- Inability to adapt
- Low self-worth
- Panic disorder
- Out of proportion distress
- School refusal
Anxiety disorder in the Bible
The Bible acknowledges anxiety can be a day-to-day struggle for anyone (Psalm 94:19). It weighs a man down (Proverbs 12:25), but chronic anxiety is associated with a demonic stronghold.
Neurosis or anxiety disorder is an attribute of faithlessness, sin, or demonic influence. It could also be genetic.
You can be both assertive and happy, as well as anxious and depressed. They are two separate emotional systems, according to psychologist Jordan Peterson.
It is not to say demons cause all mental problems
Debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia, or dyskinesia have genetic links. Nonetheless, Jesus demonstrated that He has power overall all sickness.
When faith and science didn’t help cure anxiety and depression
Antidepressant treatment for neurosis
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of “talk therapy” used to help treat people with mental health issues. It is the most common and perhaps effective way to deal with anxiety.
The Bible tells us to share each other’s burdens. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a Christian-based CBT.
As a supplement to CBT, Fluoxetine or Prozac can be prescribed. It is an antidepressant pill known as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). It is often used to treat depression, although it does not always work.
Certain neurotransmitters are linked to depression. Interventions like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and SSRI may help. However, evidence show problems persist despite medications. [McAllister-Williams]
Christians who gave up
These men are not faithless. Despite countless prayers, therapy, and medication, their kids, who grew up in a loving Christian home—still lost the battle.
Evidence show problems persist, despite medications.
Being anxious is not necessarily a sin
Certain stimuli make us nervous or anxious. However, to have feelings of anxiety is different from being controlled by it. Likewise, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, associated with neurosis, could be a genetic trait. Still with positive attributes. Even anger is not a sin in the Bible, but we can sin in anger.
Jesus, as a human, had anxious feelings when He sweated blood (hematohidrosis) the night before His crucifixion. He obeyed God and submitted to death on the cross.
Neuroticism: A sinful nature?
Anxiousness, irritability, and anger can lead to sin. These are symptoms of neuroticism that say that neurosis can be rooted in one’s nature. However, it is a “sinful nature.”
Example: Divorce in the Bible is a sin
Interestingly, “Higher levels of neuroticism increase the probability of divorce, and that’s part of the reason why most divorces are initiated by women,” said psychologist Jordan Peterson. Therefore, neuroticism as a genetic trait is man’s nature, which is sinful.
To have feelings of anxiety is different from being controlled by it.
Sinful behavior pattern vs. suffering in Christ
Apostle Paul also faced emotional problems. He had frustrations, as we see in how he rebuked church leaders. He was persecuted for his testimony and would rather die to be with the LORD (Philippians 1:23). Instead, he chose to persevere and be thankful for all things—good or bad.
In contrast, those who fall into a sinful behavior pattern or unforgiveness—inevitably suffer ill guilt feelings and anxiety. Sin disables us and allows the devil to gain a foothold. For some of those Jesus healed, he said, “Go and sin no more.”
Discontentment & wanting
Bitterness & unforgiveness
Unbelief & faithlessness
Laziness & idleness
Peace of Christ
Contentment & rejoicing
Thankfulness & forgiveness
Hope & Endurance
Renewing the Mind: A Biblical cure for chronic anxiety
- There’s always trouble in this world. Stand up, take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). Ask Jesus to renew your mind. [Know more about daily repentance]
- If there’s sin or guilt, surrender it to Jesus, He has forgiven you. He will never leave you or forsake you. [Know the Good News]
- Ask God to renew each day and turn gloom into a “fresh happy day” and, like Jesus, spend time alone with the LORD. [How to talk to God?]
- Be thankful for all things, good and bad.
- Consider spiritual warfare. [What to do in spiritual warfare?]
1 Chronicle 16:11
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
“… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance—endurance produces character—and character produces hope…”