The Trauma Lines Blog

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

What If We Could Turn Off Our Anxiety

with 2 comments

You don’t have to be dealing with something as serious as post-traumatic stress disorder to be riled by feelings of anxiety. For many, non-threatening events such as going to a job interview, meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time or standing in a crowded elevator, can bring on feelings of anxiety.

Yet researchers from Stanford University hope to deal with the more-serious cases after possibly discovering a way to shut off your brain’s impulses of anxiety. But like most of the ground-breaking studies we’ve discussed in this blog, the findings are still in the preliminary stages:

Researchers found a certain brain circuit that when stimulated in mice proved to inhibit their anxiety — the mice were emboldened to freely explore open areas they typically shunned out of fear of predator attacks.

Stanford’s Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, discusses our current grasp on axiety and why it’s so important that we better understand how we can possibly prevent it:

“Anxiety is a poorly understood but common psychiatric disease,” said Deisseroth, who is also a practicing psychiatrist. More than one in four people, in the course of their lives, experience bouts of anxiety symptoms sufficiently enduring and intense to be classified as a full-blown psychiatric disorder. In addition, anxiety is a significant contributing factor in other major psychiatric disorders from depression to alcohol dependence, Deisseroth said.

What’s wrong with how we currently treat anxiety?

Most current anti-anxiety medications work by suppressing activity in the brain circuitry that generates anxiety or increases anxiety levels. Many of these drugs are not very effective, and those that are have significant side effects such as addiction or respiratory suppression, Deisseroth said. “The discovery of a novel circuit whose action is to reduce anxiety, rather than increase it, could point to an entire strategy of anti-anxiety treatment,” he added.

Be sure to continue reading this article from the Stanford School of Medicine to learn more about the research going into fighting anxiety.


Written by traumalines

March 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Trust me, as an panic attack/anxiety survivor myself I wish there was an on/off button for anxiety. Its a miserable condition especially when combined with panic attacks and agoraphobia. We can only hope they find the magic button, Great article – Sincerely -Bill

    Panic Survivor

    July 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    • Hey Bill,

      Really appreciate your comment, thanks for sharing!

      Trauma Lines


      July 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

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