Which brain regions are associated with anxiety disorders?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

The brain circuits and regions associated with anxiety disorders are beginning to be understood with the development of functional and structural imaging. The brain amygdala appears key in modulating fear and anxiety. Patients with anxiety disorders often show heightened amygdala response to anxiety cues. The amygdala and other limbic system structures are connected to prefrontal cortex regions. Hyperresponsiveness of the amygdala may relate to reduced activation thresholds when responding to perceived social threat. [3, 4] Prefrontal-limbic activation abnormalities have been shown to reverse with clinical response to psychologic or pharmacologic interventions.


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