How does our brain process fear? Study investigates

Ana Sandoiu in Medical News Today:

ScreenHunter_2591 Feb. 15 10.01From an evolutionary perspective, fear and anxiety are quite useful. These deeply ingrained emotions used to protect our ancestors from predators, and in our times the "fight-or-flight" response is still a healthy reaction to dangerous situations.

When fear is proportionate to the danger a person is in, it is a normal, adaptive response. However, some of us have exaggerated reactions to stressful situations.

As the National Institute of Mental Health explains, when the fear response is disproportionate or lasts a lot longer than what is normally expected from the situation – to a point where it interferes with an individual's well-being and daily functioning – it is classed as an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders include a wide range of conditions that reportedly affect 18 percent of the adult population in the United States.

Because we share some of the brain's architecture with our fellow mammals and we have a similar response to fear, studying animal models has provided scientists with important insights into the neuroscientific basis for fear processing.

More here.