Women are more than twice as likely to suffer from fear and anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and posttraumatic stress disorder. One reason for this difference may be that fluctuating ovarian hormone levels in women during their reproductive life span alters emotional processing. For example, the incidence of anxiety symptoms is higher when ovarian hormone levels are low, including during premenstrual, postpartum, and perimenopausal periods. These women can benefit from estrogen treatment, suggesting an anxiolytic effect. Despite these striking sex differences and decades of research investigating the processes involved in controlling emotion, we know surprisingly little regarding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this disproportionate incidence of fear and anxiety disorders.
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Accepted: September 21, 2011
Received: September 21, 2011
© 2011 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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- Estradiol Modulates Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala Activity During Fear Extinction in Women and Female RatsBiological PsychiatryVol. 70Issue 10