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Phobias are considered part of the anxiety disorder family. Having a phobia is having an intense and often irrational fear of a person, place, thing, or situation. For some, phobias are a minimal experience, like feeling uneasy at the thought of spiders or hating to fly in airplanes. For others, phobias are rooted in deep and complex trauma. The manifestations of their phobias are so intense that they interrupt their ability to live their lives normally, have healthy relationships, or fulfill the responsibilities of a job. When encountering a phobia-driven situation, levels of anxiety skyrocket. What if scientists found a way to ‘turn off’ areas in the brain that causes the anxious reaction when encountering a phobia, or otherwise anxious, situation? Researchers from Columbia University tested some anxiety-prone mice who were afraid of open spaces to find out. The findings were published in the journal Neuron and revealed some fascinating insight to the role of the hippocampus in anxiety and hope for the future of anxiety disorders treatment.

Anxiety is one of the most commonly experienced mental health disorders among adults in the United States. Approximately one in five U.S. adults lives with anxiety which affects their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Symptoms of anxiety can range from mild to severe, leading to physical symptoms that can resemble a heart attack.

Researchers discovered that when the anxiety-prone mice were introduced to an open space area in a maze, certain cells in their hippocampus became active. The hippocampus is an area of the brain already known for playing a role in anxiety. In order to test against the anxiety, researchers turned down the activity of the cells. According to NPR, what the researchers “…found was that they did become less anxious. They actually tended to want to explore the open arms of the maze even more.” When the cells were activated, the mice were more anxious.

Though the researchers emphasize that this is just one small part of a much bigger equation, the finding is monumental. Reducing the symptoms of anxiety is something that people who live with anxiety wish for every single day. Turning off anxiety to the point of being willing to go into the areas and situations of life which inspire anxiety could be life changing to millions of people.

Treating Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is commonly a manifestation of traumatic experiences. Until brain cell treatment becomes commonplace, there are many evidence-based treatments and therapies proven to reduce the severity of anxiety symptoms in order to create a more manageable life.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues like anxiety. Everyone has a story. If you are living with unmanageable anxiety as a result of trauma it is critical for you to know, you are not alone. Help is available. You can and you will recover. Call us today for information on our custom plans of treatment and our private luxury care: 1-855-483-7800