Could this chemical help explain anxiety? | Eurasia Diary -

26 February, Wednesday

Could this chemical help explain anxiety?

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A recent study on anxiety examined the role of glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter. The findings could help scientists develop more effective interventions.

Almost everybody experiences anxiety in one of its forms.

Over time, evolution honed anxiety as a survival mechanism; it forms part of our "fight-or-flight" response.

The heart pumps a little faster, and there might be a sensation of nausea as the body prepares for action.

Although anxiety is a natural response, it can spiral out of control for some people.

Rather than being a protective force that helps us navigate everyday life, it becomes a burden that impacts well-being. Also, being more prone to anxiety increases the risk of developing an anxiety disorder and depression.

Beyond mental health, anxiety might also have physical effects; the authors of the new study write that sustained high levels of anxiety "may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease."

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America say that anxiety disorders impact almost 1 in 5 adults in the United States each year.

Anxiety disorders are as common as depression, but until relatively recently, they received much less attention.

Because of its growing prevalence, the neurological mechanisms that are involved are receiving increased attention. The latest study, which now appears in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigates the role of glutamate in the hippocampus.

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