According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older — or nearly 1 in 5 people in this age group in a given year — have an anxiety disorder. Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.
Currently, the standard of care for anxiety treatment is either a short-acting psychiatric medication — most often a benzodiazepine for the treatment of things like panic disorder — and psychotherapy.
All of this could change if University of Alberta neuroscientists have their way. We’ve long known chemicals in the brain associated with an increase or decrease in anxiety. But their new research discovered exactly how those chemicals work, opening the door for more targeted brain treatments to be developed in the future.
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