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Low GABA levels are commonly found in people suffering anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety. Its naturally found in the body and appears to have an inhibitory effect in those circuits involved with anxiety which may be over active. It could well be useful if your derealization is that which is brought on as a symptom of an anxiety disorder.

Yoinked from: ... levels.htm
Low GABA Levels Linked to Panic Disorder
Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine have found additional evidence of a relationship between GABA levels and panic disorder. In a study at Yale, people with panic disorder were found to have a 22% reduction in total occipital cortex GABA than people without panic disorder.

GABA, or "gamma aminobutyric acid," has been the subject of numerous studies on panic disorder as well as other psychiatric disorders and substance abuse conditions. Scientists believe that GABA, a brain chemical, works by limiting the nerve cell activity in areas of the brain associated with anxiety. It has been hypothesized that people with anxiety disorders have increased cell activity in these areas.

Another theory, which led to the study discussed here, is that people with panic disorder have abnormally low levels of GABA. Previous studies have indicated that low levels of GABA function may lead to increased anxiety while anxiety is reduced when GABA function is increased. Prior to this study, according to the researchers, there had been "no direct assessment" of GABA levels in people with panic disorder.

Participants in the study consisted of 14 people (8 women and 6 men) with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia and 14 control subjects without history of panic disorder who were matched with the panic disorder patients as closely as possible by age and sex. The participants with panic disorder had at least one panic attack per week during the month prior to the study and were unmedicated for at least one week prior to the study. Researchers used a magnetic resonance spectroscope (MRS) test to measure levels of total occipital cortex GABA levels in the study participants.

The results showed that 12 of the 14 participants with panic disorder had lower GABA levels than the matched control subjects. Overall, the tests showed a 22% reduction in GABA levels in the participants with panic disorder compared with those without panic disorder. Although GABA levels between men and women with panic disorder were not significantly different, there was a significant difference between GABA levels in women with panic disorder and women without panic as compared to men with panic disorder and men without panic. Age did not appear to affect GABA levels. The relationship between GABA levels and severity of agoraphobia was not significant.

The Yale researchers believe their study findings are one step to learning more about the relationship between GABA levels and panic disorder. Further studies, they believe, should include better matching with control subjects and testing of different brain areas.

Why is this study and others like it important to people with panic disorder? These studies will lead to

* an understanding of the causes behind panic disorder;
* ways to predict and prevent panic disorder;
* and better treatments, such as medications, for panic disorder.

Reference: Goddard AW, Mason GF, Almai A, Rothman DL, Behar KL, Petroff OAC, Charney DS, Krystal JH (2001). Reductions in the occipital cortex GABA levels in panic disorder detected with 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Arch Gen Psychiatry 58: 556-561.

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danny said:
I have read a few posts over the months that drugs that GABA is possibly a candidate for this dr. So has anyone tried GABA supplements e.g.

Just wondering what peoples opinions are?

GABA supplements like that one seem to be popular with body builders, not sure what they do in the body outside the brain but one thing is for sure, GABA in that form does not cross the blood-brain-barrier so you're basically pissing away a lot of money. If this stuff worked, we'd all be taking that instead of benzos.

Some argue that very little of it does get across, enough to make a difference? not sure...but, all would agree that taking amino acids that are GABA precursors is a smarter way to go about it. better yet, just eat a well balanced diet that's high in protein, and your body will break the food down into all the amino acids it needs to make GABA, and skip the synthetic pills. but that's just my opinion.

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