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Neuroscience Uncovers The Power Of Your Thoughts Over Fear And Anxiety

December 27, 2017


It has been traditionally assumed that there is one “fear circuit” with fear arising from the amygdala.   


Researchers Pine and Le Doux have proposed that there are 2 circuits and that the amygdala “is not itself responsible for the experience of fear” (Joseph E. LeDoux, Ph.D., Daniel S. Pine, M.D., 2016).  In their article “Using Neuroscience to Help Understand Fear and Anxiety: A Two-System Frameworkpublished in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Pine and LeDoux have identified that brain circuits responsible for higher order thinking, attention, and language are responsible for our subjective experience of fear. 


Learning how to communicate with your amygdala differently, has the power to over-ride the fear response and decrease anxiety.  This is especially true with panic attacks.  Treatments that involve your higher order thinking and behavior can be used alongside medication to achieve long-term and more permanent improvement.


The amygdala works subconsciously and indirectly to threats.  Your conscious thinking evaluates the threat and decides if it is a real threat and if you should be afraid.  Your thinking mediates the level of fear produced by the amygdala.  Your amygdala responds to cues from your thoughts and behavior.  This is why cognitive behavioral therapy may be more effective at treating anxiety than medication alone.

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Attacking Panic System

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My name is Dr. Russell A Hunter, PsyD and I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist recognized by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists as meeting the National Register’s stringent requirements for education and experience as a healthcare professional.


I specialize in the field of Clinical Psychology and I am an expert in the treatment of Panic Disorder, Anxiety Disorders,  ADHD, and Neurocognitive Disorders. I provide CBT and psychological testing at Northern Virginia Psychiatric Associates within the Prince William Medical Center.

I published a book titled, "Attacking Panic: The Power to Be Calm" and it is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Attacking Panic: The Power To Be Calm. Copyright © 2017 Russell A. Hunter, Psy.D. All rights reserved. Attacking Panic is available in paperback and Kindle edition at Amazon and in paperback at Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

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