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Concept: Anxiolytic


Various psychological interventions are effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety when used alone, or as an adjunct to anti-anxiety medications. Recent studies have further indicated that smartphone-supported psychological interventions may also reduce anxiety, although the role of mobile devices in the treatment and management of anxiety disorders has yet to be established.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Mental disorder, Anxiety disorder, Anxiolytic


Zebrafish are gaining momentum as a laboratory animal species for the study of anxiety-related disorders in translational research, whereby they serve a fundamental complement to laboratory rodents. Several anxiety-related behavioral paradigms, which rest upon the presentation of live predatorial stimuli, may yield inconsistent results due to fatigue, habituation, or idiosyncratic responses exhibited by the stimulus itself. To overcome these limitations, we designed and manufactured a fully controllable robot inspired by a natural aquatic predator (Indian leaf fish, Nandus nandus) of zebrafish. We report that this robot elicits aversive antipredatorial reactions in a preference test and that data obtained therein correlate with data observed in traditional anxiety- and fear-related tests (light/dark preference and shelter-seeking). Finally, ethanol administration (0.25; 0.50; 1.00%) exerts anxiolytic effects, thus supporting the view that robotic stimuli can be used in the analysis of anxiety-related behaviors in zebrafish.

Concepts: Psychology, Biology, Organism, Fish, Paradigm, Behavior, Motivation, Anxiolytic


Abstract Objective - Silexan is a lavender oil preparation in gelatine capsules containing 80 mg. We review clinical trials investigating the anxiolytic efficacy and tolerability of Silexan as well as its safety and potential for drug interactions. Methods - 7 trials were included. 4 therapeutic trials had a treatment duration of 6 or 10 weeks. Results - In patients with subsyndromal anxiety or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) an anxiolytic effect of Silexan was evident after 2 weeks. Patients treated with Silexan showed Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) total score decreases by between 10.4 ? 7.1 and 12.0 ? 7.2 points at Week 6 and between 11.8 ? 7.7 and 16.0 ? 8.3 points at Week 10. HAMA total score reductions between baseline and end of treatment were significantly superior to placebo in patients with subsyndromal anxiety and comparable to lorazepam in its starting dose in patients with GAD. Conclusions - Silexan had beneficial effects on typical co-morbidity symptoms of anxiety disorders, e. g., disturbed sleep, somatic complaints, or decreased quality of life. Except for mild gastrointestinal symptoms the drug was devoid of adverse effects and did not cause drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms at daily doses of 80 or 160 mg.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Alprazolam, Anxiety disorders, Social anxiety disorder, Insomnia, Anxiolytic


Objective: In many countries diphenhydramine (DPH) is commonly available over the counter, frequently used, and generally regarded as a harmless drug. It is used as a sedative, antiallergic or antiemetic substance.Methods: We present a systematic review of literature search in Pubmed from 1972 to 2012 describing DPH addiction. The literature search in reveals that the addictive potential of DPH can be regarded as proved, based on cases series, eight case reports, a pharmacological overview, one uncontrolled, and one randomized, placebo controlled study. In addition we report a case of an abstinent alcoholic patient treated in our department for DPH-dependency.Conclusion: Especially when treating patients with a history of addiction, physicians should consider and check the possibility of a DPH dependency.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Morphine, Drug addiction, Addiction, Physical dependence, Substance abuse, Anxiolytic, Diphenhydramine


Anxiety-related disorders are frequently observed in the population. Because the available pharmacotherapies for anxiety can cause side effects, new anxiolytic compounds have been screened using behavioral tasks. For example, diphenyl diselenide (PhSe)2, a simple organoselenium compound with neuroprotective effects, has demonstrated anxiolytic effects in rodents. However, this compound has not yet been tested in a novelty-based paradigm in non-mammalian animal models. In this study, we assessed the potential anxiolytic effects of (PhSe)2 on the behavior of adult zebrafish under novelty-induced stress. The animals were pretreated with 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, and 1μM (PhSe)2 in the aquarium water for 30min. The fish were then exposed to a novel tank, and their behavior was quantified during a 6-min trial. (PhSe)2 treatment altered fish behavior in a concentration-dependent manner. At 0.01 and 0.25μM, (PhSe)2 did not elicit effects on fish behavior. At 0.5μM, moderate behavioral side effects (e.g., lethargy and short episodic immobility) were noted. At the highest concentration tested (1μM), dramatic side effects were observed, such as burst behavior and longer periods of immobility. The results were confirmed by spatiotemporal analysis of each group. Occupancy plot data showed dispersed homebase formation in the 0.25μM (PhSe)2-treated group compared with the control group (treated with 0.04% DMSO). Furthermore, animals treated with 0.25μM (PhSe)2showed a reduction in latency to enter the top and spent more time in the upper area of the tank. These data suggest that (PhSe)2 may induce an anxiolytic-like effect in situations of anxiety evoked by novelty.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Fish, Animal, The Animals, Aquarium, Selenium compounds, Anxiolytic


The literature regarding exercise for people with established anxiety disorders is equivocal. To address this issue, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the benefits of exercise compared to usual treatment or control conditions in people with an anxiety and/or stress-related disorders. Major electronic databases were searched from inception until December/2015 and a random effect meta-analysis conducted. Altogether, six randomized control trials (RCTs) including 262 adults (exercise n=132, 34.74 [9.6] years; control n=130, 37.34 [10.0] years) were included. Exercise significantly decreased anxiety symptoms more than control conditions, with a moderate effect size (Standardized Mean Difference=-0.582, 95%CI -1.0 to -0.76, p=0.02). Our data suggest that exercise is effective in improving anxiety symptoms in people with a current diagnosis of anxiety and/ or stress-related disorders. Taken together with the wider benefits of exercise on wellbeing and cardiovascular health, these findings reinforce exercise as an important treatment option in people with anxiety/stress disorders.

Concepts: Anxiety, Evidence-based medicine, Cardiovascular disease, Systematic review, Effectiveness, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Anxiolytic


Anxiety, a behavioral consequence of stress, has been characterized in humans and some vertebrates, but not invertebrates. Here, we demonstrate that after exposure to stress, crayfish sustainably avoided the aversive illuminated arms of an aquatic plus-maze. This behavior was correlated with an increase in brain serotonin and was abolished by the injection of the benzodiazepine anxiolytic chlordiazepoxide. Serotonin injection into unstressed crayfish induced avoidance; again, this effect was reversed by injection with chlordiazepoxide. Our results demonstrate that crayfish exhibit a form of anxiety similar to that described in vertebrates, suggesting the conservation of several underlying mechanisms during evolution. Analyses of this ancestral behavior in a simple model reveal a new route to understanding anxiety and may alter our conceptions of the emotional status of invertebrates.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Species, Arthropod, Alprazolam, Diazepam, Chlordiazepoxide, Anxiolytic


Milk has long been known and used to promote sleep. The sleep-promoting effect of milk has been attributed to its psychological associations (i.e., the memory of a mother giving milk at bedtime) and its rich store of sleep-promoting constituents (e.g., tryptophan). Studies have shown that milk harvested at night (Night milk) contains exceptionally high amounts of tryptophan and melatonin. In the present study, we evaluated the psychopharmacological properties of Night milk, particularly its probable sleep-promoting/enhancing, and anxiolytic effects. Night milk was orally administered to ICR mice at various concentrations (100, 200, or 300 mg/kg). An hour after administration, assessment of its sedative (open-field and rotarod tests) and sedative sleep-potentiating effects (pentobarbital-induced sleeping test) was conducted. For comparison, the effects of Day milk (daytime milking) were also assessed. In addition, the effects of Night milk on anxiety behavior (elevated plus maze [EPM] test) and electroencephalographic (EEG) waves were evaluated. Night milk-treated animals exhibited decreased spontaneous locomotion (open-field test) and impaired motor balance and coordination (rotarod test). Furthermore, Night milk shortened the sleep onset and prolonged the sleep duration induced by pentobarbital sodium. These effects were comparable to that of diazepam. In addition, Night milk significantly increased the percentage of time spent and entries into the open arms of the EPM, indicating that it also has anxiolytic effects. No significant changes in EEG waves were observed. Altogether, these findings suggest that Night milk is a promising natural aid for sleep- and anxiety-related disturbances.

Concepts: Psychology, Sleep, Neuroscience, Electroencephalography, Circadian rhythm, Sedative, Pentobarbital, Anxiolytic


Valerian is commonly used for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. Valerian extracts allosterically modulate GABA-A receptors and induced an anxiolytic activity. This activity is closely related to valerenic acid. In the present experiments it was investigated whether acetoxy valerenic acid may interfere with the anxiolytic action of valerenic acid.

Concepts: Anxiety disorder, Anxiolytic, Valerenic acid


The pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) has been implicated in human anxiety disorders and depression, but the circuit-level mechanisms underlying these disorders are unclear. In healthy individuals, the pACC is involved in cost-benefit evaluation. We developed a macaque version of an approach-avoidance decision task used to evaluate anxiety and depression in humans and, with multi-electrode recording and cortical microstimulation, we probed pACC function as monkeys performed this task. We found that the macaque pACC has an opponent process-like organization of neurons representing motivationally positive and negative subjective value. Spatial distribution of these two neuronal populations overlapped in the pACC, except in one subzone, where neurons with negative coding were more numerous. Notably, microstimulation in this subzone, but not elsewhere in the pACC, increased negative decision-making, and this negative biasing was blocked by anti-anxiety drug treatment. This cortical zone could be critical for regulating negative emotional valence and anxiety in decision-making.

Concepts: Cerebrum, Primate, Anxiety disorder, Brodmann area 24, Anterior cingulate cortex, Cingulate cortex, Anxiolytic