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Functional Neuroimaging in Social Anxiety Disorder

  • James M. Warwick
  • D. J. Stein
  • P. Carey
Chapter
  • 124 Downloads

Abstract

The amygdala-based fear circuit involved in mediating fear conditioning and anxiety symptoms appears to also be implicated in social anxiety disorder (SAD). Imaging literature in SAD using PET and SPECT provides encouraging support for this model. The provocation of anxiety in SAD sufferers by a variety of substances may point to nonspecific activation of such a circuit, though to a lesser degree than in panic disorder. Differences in the particular anxiety symptoms experienced by subjects may, however, point to more specific circuits being involved in SAD, although this suggestion is not yet substantiated by the imaging literature. Convincing evidence now implicates limbic structures in fear conditioning that play a role in mediating social anxiety, and that effective pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy alter activity in these areas and perhaps also in circuits related to fear extinction. Future work to determine the functioning of specific neurotransmitter and neurochemical systems in general fear circuits using novel ligands provides hope for the translation of such work to the clinic.

Keywords

Social Anxiety Social Phobia Fear Conditioning Social Anxiety Disorder Panic Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Warwick
    • 1
  • D. J. Stein
    • 1
  • P. Carey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Stellenbosch and TygerbergCape TownSouth Africa

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