The Role of Neuroactive Steroids in Anxiety Disorders

  • Erin M. MacKenzie
  • Glen B. Baker
  • Jean-Michel Le Mellédo

Given that neuroactive steroids modulate the activity of a number of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders (including GABAA and NMDA receptors), it is not surprising that increasing evidence suggests that levels of some neuroactive steroids may be altered in individuals suffering from these disorders. This chapter will provide an in-depth summary of the findings regarding neuroactive steroid abnormalities in panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, generalized social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder. How these abnormalities may be related to illness symptoms or whether they may reflect compensatory mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis will be explored. Furthermore, the regulation of steroidal abnormalities by drugs used to treat the above-mentioned disorders will be discussed.


Neuroactive steroids neurosteroids anxiety post-traumatic stress disorder panic disorder social phobia hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin M. MacKenzie
    • 1
  • Glen B. Baker
    • 1
  • Jean-Michel Le Mellédo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of AlbertaCanada

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