Can the anointing of the sick be given for panic attacks?


#1

Would it be appropriate for me to ask a priest for anointing of the sick? I have been struggling with anxiety/panic attacks for many years and would love to have this sacrament for the grace and effects it has.


#2

While the Church now allows for the anointing of the sick for not just for those on their deathbeds but also for those who may be in danger of death, there does need to be a foreseeable danger of death:

§1 The anointing of the sick can be administered to any member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger of death by reason of illness or old age.

§2 This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, *again becomes seriously ill or if, in the same illness, the danger [of death] becomes more serious *(canon 1004, *Code of Canon Law *[1983], emphasis added).

The anointing of the sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived” (CCC 1514, emphasis added).

Since panic attacks, so far as I know, do not include a danger of death, the anointing of the sick is not a proper sacrament for addressing that problem. However, you can avail yourself of sacramental grace through the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist. The sacrament of confession, in particular, is also a healing sacrament; and, provided there is no danger of scrupulosity, a more frequent reception of that sacrament can offer spiritual healing. Here is a list of the effects of the grace gained by confession:

Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:

“Whoever confesses his sins … is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear ‘man’ – this is what God has made; when you hear ‘sinner’ – this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. … When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light” (CCC 1458).


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