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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2003 Sep;5(3):207-21.

The psychobiology of resilience and vulnerability to anxiety disorders: implications for prevention and treatment.

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  • Chief, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md, USA.


Much of the research on the neurobiology of human anxiety disorders has focused on psychopaihological abnormalities in patients with anxiety disorders. While this line of research is obviously important, more investigation is needed to elucidate the psychobiology of resilience to extreme stress. Study of the psychobiology of resilience has the potential to identify neurochemical, neuropeptide, and hormonal mediators of vulnerability and resilience to severe stress. In addition, the relevance of neural mechanisms of reward and motivation, fear responsiveness, and social behavior to character traits associated with risk and resistance to anxiety disorders may be clarified. These areas of investigation should lead to improved methods of diagnosis, novel approaches to prevention, and new targets for antianxiety drug discovery.


anxiety disorder; fear; neurochemistry; psychobiology; resilience

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