The benzodiazepine alprazolam dissociates contextual fear from cued fear in humans as assessed by fear-potentiated startle Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Background The startle reflex is potentiated by aversive states. It has been proposed that phasic startle potentiation to a threat cue and sustained startle potentiation to contextual stimuli reflect distinct processes mediated by different brain structures. The present study tested the hypothesis that alprazolam would reduce the sustained startle potentiation to contextual threats but not the startle potentiation to a threat cue. Methods Sixteen healthy subjects received each of four treatments: placebo,. 5 mg of alprazolam, 1 mg of alprazolam, and 50 mg of diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in a crossover design. Participants were exposed to three conditions, including one in which predictable aversive shocks were signaled by a cue, a second in which shocks were administered unpredictably, and a third condition in which no shocks were anticipated. Acoustic startle were delivered regularly across …

publication date

  • October 1, 2006