Ebola and Anxiety


Ebola. It conjures up images of people dying, with no hope. With all the latest media coverage, it could create some anxiety in your thinking.

“What if I get Ebola? What if it’s terribly painful? What if I die from Ebola? What if someone I love gets Ebola? What if my child gets Ebola?”

All of these questions start with “What if…?” Sometimes I teach a simple, yet effective, 3 question technique for clients with anxiety, to ask themselves if they start in with their “What if” anxious type of thoughts.

#1. What are the chances? What are the chances that the thing you are fearing will come true? Do you know any statistics that verify your risk for this feared event actually happening? The latest that I’ve heard of Ebola coming to Lake County, Illinois are “extremely low.” The 1 and only case of Ebola in the United States is in Dallas, Texas.

#2. Where is the evidence? Do you know someone in your area who has contracted Ebola? Are the officials in your town warning you to do whatever it takes to stay away from specific people with Ebola? If you answered no to those questions, is your fear justified? Again, stick with the facts.*  The number 1 symptom of Ebola is high fever, above 101.5F (38.6C).

#3. If it does happen, what will I do? If the thing that is feared becomes a reality, what is my plan? I know I won’t curl up in a corner and die. If I contract Ebola, I will contact my doctor, go to the hospital, ask my family and friends to pray for me, and leave it in God’s hands. There will be some treatment available, I will explore all options. Did you know that 10-50% of the cases of the Ebola are treatable?

When we ask ourselves these 3 questions, we are literally accessing a different part of the brain which handles problem-solving and more logical thinking. When we shift the location of our thoughts inside our brain, our anxiety decreases. We are thinking more logically. We are limiting the anxiety-producing part of the brain that increases adrenaline, which in turn, creates anxiety, panic and can become debilitating.

If you or someone you love has anxiety, please give me a call. I know I can teach them many techniques to lower their anxiety, which are time-tested to help lots of people.

J. Faith Gallup, LCSW


*Here is a great article to answer 10 common questions about Ebola:


anxiety resources

helpful websites

  • TroubledWith: Stress
    Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.
  • Freedom From Fear
    National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.