Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Nov 15;62(10):1183-6. Epub 2007 Aug 10.

Acute stress potentiates anxiety in humans.

Author information

  • 1Unit of Affective Psychophysiology, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2670, USA. Christian.grillon@nih.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Stress is an important factor in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Stress also potentiates anxiety-like response in animals, but empirical evidence for a similar effect in humans is still lacking.

METHODS:

To test whether stress increases anxiety in humans, we examined the ability of a social stressor (speech and a counting task) to potentiate the facilitation of startle in the dark. Measures of subjective distress and of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and autonomic nervous system activity (e.g., salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, blood pressure, and heart rate) were also taken to confirm the effectiveness of the stress manipulation.

RESULTS:

Startle was significantly facilitated in the dark. This effect was potentiated by prior exposure to the social stressor. The social stressor induced increases in salivary cortisol and alpha amylase as well as increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and subjective distress.

CONCLUSION:

The findings indicate that stress potentiates anxiety. Animal studies suggest that such an effect might be mediated by glucocorticoid effects on corticotropin-releasing hormone in limbic structures.

PMID:
17692829
PMCID:
PMC2093988
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.06.007
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center