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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Jan;33(1):134-40. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

Anxiety as a developmental disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


There is increasing recognition that many psychiatric disorders including anxiety disorders are neurodevelopmental in their origins. Here, we review and integrate data from human studies and from animal models that point to a critical period during which neural circuits that mediate anxiety develop. We then postulate that this highly plastic critical period is a time of heightened responsiveness that is particularly susceptible to adverse events. We discuss these concepts in the context the current heightened interest in gene by environment interactions in psychiatric illness emphasizing the importance of the temporal relationship between gene action and environmental milieu.

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