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The Neurobiology of Anxiety: A Tale of Two Systems

  • Thomas R. Insel

Abstract

When introducing the neurobiology of anxiety, there is an irresistable temptation to launch into a discussion of the neuropharmacology of the benzodiazepines. Clearly one could seriously misrepresent depression or schizophrenia by discussing the mode of action of antidepressants or phenothiazines. However, our understanding of the mechanisms of benzodiazepine action has evolved so quickly and the possible implications for clinical states seem so important that one might be almost forgiven for putting the pharmacologic cart before the clinical horse. Furthermore, in contrast to other psychopharmacologic agents, there is now growing evidence that the same molecular systems which mediate the therapeutic effects of benzodiazepines may be involved in the generation of anxiety. So one might justly feel that the neuropharmacology of the benzodiazepines is directly relevant to a biological basis of anxiety (Ninan, Insel, Cohen, Skolnick, & Paul, 1982).

Keywords

Anxiety Disorder Generalize Anxiety Disorder Panic Disorder Panic Attack Mitral Valve Prolapse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas R. Insel
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Mental HealthUSA

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