Abstract: Tremendous progress has been made in basic neuroscience in recent decades. One area that has been especially successful is research on how the brain detects and responds to threats. Such studies have demonstrated comparable patterns of brain-behavior relationships underlying threat processing across a range of mammalian species, including humans. This would seem to be an ideal body of information for advancing our understanding of disorders in which altered threat processing is a key factor, namely, fear and anxiety disorders. But research on threat processing has not led to significant improvements in clinical practice. The authors propose that in order to take advantage of this progress for clinical gain, a conceptual reframing is needed. Key to this conceptual change is recognition of a distinction between circuits underlying two classes of responses elicited by threats: 1) behavioral responses and accompanying physiological changes in the brain and body and 2) conscious feeling states reflected in self-reports of fear and anxiety. This distinction leads to a “two systems” view of fear and anxiety. The authors argue that failure to recognize and consistently emphasize this distinction has impeded progress in understanding fear and anxiety disorders and hindered attempts to develop more effective pharmaceutical and psychological treatments. The two-system view suggests a new way forward.
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The participant will assess a two-system viewpoint for jumpstarting progress in developing pharmaceutical and psychological treatments for fear and anxiety disorders.
This program is designed for all psychiatrists in clinical practice, residents in Graduate Medical Education programs, medical students interested in psychiatry, and other physicians who wish to advance their current knowledge of clinical medicine.
Estimated Time to Complete
Duration: 1 hour
Begin Date: November 1, 2016
End Date: October 31, 2018
How to Earn Credit
In order to earn CME credit, subscribers should read through the material presented in the article. After reading the article, complete the quiz and submit your evaluation and study hours (up to 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™). A score of 60% or higher is required to receive credit.
Continuing Education Credit
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The APA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Faculty and Planner Disclosures
Title: Using Neuroscience to Help Understand Fear and Anxiety: A Two-System Framework
Authors: Joseph E. LeDoux, Ph.D., Daniel S. Pine, M.D.
Affiliations: From the Center for Neural Science, the Department of Psychology, the Department Psychiatry, and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York University, New York (J.E.L.D.); the Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, N.Y. (J.E.L.D.); and the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience, NIMH Intramural Research Program, Bethesda, Md. (D.S.P.).
Disclosures: The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.
Discussion of unapproved or investigational use of products*: No.
*APA policy requires disclosure by CME authors of unapproved or investigational use of products discussed in CME programs. Off-label use of medications by individual physicians is permitted and common. Decisions about off-label use can be guided by scientific literature and clinical experience.
Robert Freedman, M.D. (Editor-in-Chief, AJP); Susan K. Schultz, M.D. (Deputy Editor, AJP); Michael D. Roy (Editorial Director, AJP) ; Michael A. Pogachar (Online Content Manager, Journals).
Dr. Schultz has received research support from the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study for projects conducted in partnership with Toyama Chemical Company and in partnership with Eli Lilly and Company. Dr. Freedman, Mr. Roy, and Mr. Pogachar report no financial relationships with commercial interests.
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