Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica
Print version ISSN 0101-6083
GRAEFF, Frederico Guilherme. Human experimental anxiety. Rev. psiquiatr. clín. [online]. 2007, vol.34, n.5, pp. 251-253. ISSN 0101-6083. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-60832007000500008.
BACKGROUND: Human experimental anxiety methods bridge the gap between animal models and clinical assays. OBJECTIVE: This article is focused on chemical and psychological procedures used to generate experimental anxiety in human beings. METHODS: A selective review of the literature has been carried out. RESULTS: Pharmacological challenges have been mainly used to induce panic attacks in panic disorder patients, who are more susceptible than normal individuals or patients with other psychiatric disorders. One of the most important contributions of this method is to have shown that the most selective panicogenic agents, such as lactate or CO2 inhalation, do not activate the hormonal stress axis. Among the psychological methods stand the conditioning of the electrical skin conductance response, which has a pharmacological profile similar to that of generalized anxiety disorder, and the simulated public speaking test, which is pharmacologically similar to panic disorder. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the difference between the neurobiology of anxiety and that of panic.
Keywords : Anticipatory anxiety; panic; panicogenic agents; conditioned skin conductance response; simulated public speaking.