The neural correlates of symptom relief after interventions in anxiety disorders.
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In this thesis I will critically review neuroimaging studies that have focused on either structural or functional brain changes after successful therapy in anxiety disorders in order to establish a frame of reference to help improving therapy for treating anxiety disorders. First, I will explain the basics of a fear response, as it is thought that an exaggerated fear response underlies anxiety disorders. I will discuss which brain structures are said to be involved in the emotional memory of the fear response and how we cognitively can control our emotional response to a fearful stimulus. Second, I will review published studies that have investigated the symptomatology of each anxiety disorder separately in order to define the differences between patients suffering from anxiety disorders compared to healthy subjects. Third, I will review studies that have investigated neurological changes after effective interventions. At last but not least, I will report findings of studies that have focused on the identification of pre-therapeutic brain marker predictors of treatment success.