What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an umbrella term used to describe mental illnesses such as obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias. The fear brought on by these disorders can be paralysing and severely interfere with a person’s everyday life.

The symptoms of anxiety – usually brought on by distressing events or personality traits – include compulsions that cannot be controlled, excess worry, irrational fears and panic attacks.

However, anxiety disorders are treatable through medication, cognitive behaviour therapy and community support.

Anxiety research at QBI

QBI neuroscientists are also working hard to better understand the area of the brain called the amygdala, which is where anxiety disorders tend to develop.

Using electrophysiology, imaging and behavioural experiments, researchers have identified some of the key local circuits involved in anxiety disorders and have discovered the molecular composition of some receptors in the amygdala that are potential targets for new anxiolytics.