Treatment of anxiety

Treatment of anxiety

Three of the neurotransmitter systems (serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-amino butyric acid) have been manipulated in attempt to discover the best manner in which to treat anxiety. Historically, much attention focused on the fact that anxiety like symptoms (i.e. tachycardia, sweating and tremulousness) were found to be precipitated by noradrenergic stimulation.

Thus, treatment attempted to reduce the firing of the noradrenergic neurons (with benzodiazepines) or blocking the effect (with β-blockers). But now, the focus of treatment has switched to enhancing serotonin’s modulating effects at the amygdala, hypothalamus and locus coeruleus (with SSRI’s, TCA’s and MAOI’s). See also treatment of anxiety disorders.


SSRI’s are capable of inhibiting the cardiovascular manifestations of panic attacks.


Benzodiazepines only inhibit GABA-A receptors on norepinephrine neurons.