The Neurobiology of Anxiety

Fear is a normal biological response that is programmed into all animals and humans. In some animals and humans the circuitry for the fear reaction is more heightened than others, and conditioning can be used to remove or decrease the sensitivity of it. Imbalances in the brain can result from long term activation of the fear circuits, and this can lead to the development of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. The stress of modern life is likely one of the main drivers of the increasing incidence of mood disorders seen within Western populations, and many individuals may be in a state of continual fear. Areas of the brain that might be negatively affected by the chronic application of fear include the amygdala, the frontal cortex, the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. Within these systems a number of neurotransmitters are modified from their normal concentrations including dopamine, histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, GABA, adrenaline and nitric oxide. 

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Shaban-Pour, M., Ghermezian, A., Behvarmanesh, A., Moghtadaei, M., Ashabi, G., Sadat-Shirazi, M. S., Shahani, M., Kheradmandi, M. and Zarrindast, M. R. 2021. Introduction to Neurocircuitry and Neurobiology of Anxiety. Archives of Advances in Biosciences. 12(1): 45-51

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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