Summary of “Scientists’ Understanding of Anxiety is Radically Evolving-But How Long Will it Take for Treatments to Catch Up?”

Few scientists have contributed more to our understanding of fear and anxiety than Joseph LeDoux.
It helped to explain how emotions can overpower our rational minds, why we are sometimes captive to irrational phobias and the mechanism by which it is possible to feel overcome by a deep sense of foreboding and anxiety or “Gut feeling” without knowing why.
Her work has added to a growing body of evidence that brain structures other than the amygdala and BNST play a role in anxiety.
What parts of the brain the amygdala and BNST are “Talking to” may eventually prove crucial in finding more effective ways of treating anxiety.
They haven’t yet been translated into new treatments that might relieve anxiety.
The awkward truth about current anxiety treatments is that they are for the most part unproven.
Although 75 percent of patients who seek help for debilitating anxiety get “Substantially better” during the course of treatment, medical scientists don’t know to what extent these improvements are due to the treatments themselves or to the placebo effect.
Instead, says the Salk Institute’s Tye, they have relied largely on trial and error-“Shooting into the dark.” In recent years, many pharmaceutical companies, discouraged by the complexity of the mechanisms of anxiety in the brain, have reduced spending on R&D for anxiety medications.

The orginal article.