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Your brain's chemical messengers

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help transfer messages around the nerve cells in your brain. There are many different neurotransmitters in your brain.

Scientists are looking closely at four neurotransmitters that might be important in anxiety disorder. You may come across these names when you read about treatments for anxiety disorder.

Doctors call this illness generalised anxiety disorder. We're calling it anxiety disorder for short.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

This neurotransmitter slows down your brain and stops it working too fast. Some scientists think that GABA may not work properly in people with anxiety disorder. So the brain might work too fast and make feelings of anxiety seem worse. [13]


Noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine) keeps you alert and helps you respond to stress. If you have too much noradrenaline in your brain, it may change the way you respond to stress. [13]


Serotonin, also called 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter in the parts of your brain that are important for learning, sleeping, and your mood. But researchers don't know how serotonin affects anxiety. [13]


We don't know very much about this neurotransmitter, but we think it may have a role in anxiety disorder.



Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help to carry messages between nerve cells. Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) are all neurotransmitters.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical that helps to send information from a nerve cell to other cells. It is thought to play a role in learning, sleep and control of mood.

For more terms related to Anxiety


For references related to Anxiety click here.
Last Updated: December 17, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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