Researchers Uncover Brain Mechanism That Results in Anxiety

By Staff Writer

Individuals who suffer from chronic anxiety may simply have an imbalance of activity in certain parts of their brains, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers said that their findings could have implications for the treatment of the disorder in mental health and drug rehab facilities.

After taking brain scans of a group of individuals who had already been diagnosed with a tendency to experience anxiety, the researchers found that the participants who showed the greatest amount of fear had lower levels of activity in the amygdala. Additionally, these individuals showed less activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

The researchers said that these brain regions also likely play a role in conditioned fear responses, like those that exist in individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

They added that rehab facilities may be able to use this knowledge in designing treatments for patients who suffer from either anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder. By understanding the specific brain chemistry underlying these conditions, it may be possible to develop therapies that are targeted to individuals.