Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dopamine and anxiety

Anxiety disorders are probably the most common co-existing disorder for those with inattentive ADHD. What's more dopamine, a neurotransmitter that's extensively involved in ADHD, may also be implicated in anxiety disorders.

According to researchers, some people with anxiety disorders may be suffering from a shortage of dopamine in the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in regulating our "fight or flight" responses to stressful situations

Interestingly when I tried dexamphetamine for ADHD it didn't have much of an effect on my inattention, but it did have a positive effect on my mood and anxiety symptoms. However, I decided to discontinue using the drug as it caused unpleasant rebound symptoms when it wore off.

At present the most frequently prescribed medications for generalised anxiety are the SSRIs (selection serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include Prozac) which are designed to raise the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. However, not everyone responds to SSRIs (in my case they don't seem to have any mental effects at all). Perhaps this research will lead to the development of sustained release drugs will can mildly raise dopamine levels in the amygdala without causing over-arousal or withdrawal symptoms.

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