There is an important discrepancy between animal models of anxiety and human anxiety patients: while experimental animals are usually unstressed, patients usually have a long history of stress. Stressful life events not only contribute to the development and/or maintenance of mood disorders in humans but also affect the efficacy of anxiolytic treatment in both animals and humans. The effects are not trivial: sometimes stress may totally abolish the effects of certain anxiolytics. Therefore, the relationship between stress exposure and anxiolytic efficacy should be an important area of research and drug development. There are several benefits that may be derived from similar studies: (i) the effect of stress may unravel yet unknown aspects of the mechanism of action of different drugs; (ii) the relevance of laboratory studies would increase; and (iii) laboratory findings may provide cues regarding the clinical use of drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience