Why there is no single drug for Fear, Specific Phobia, Social Anxiety and PTSD

Functional Neuroimaging (fMRI) studies of fear, specific phobia, social anxiety and PTSD are compared in the article by Etkin & Wager (2007) indicates to us how the different kinds of fear- and anxiety-related disorders differ in activation in the brain.

Etkin & Wager, 2007

As therapists we learn to treat each patient’s symptoms as individual. Language to describe fear-type emotions can be limited to a few adjectives. The experiences of different patients are different. fMRI studies show that biologically, these symptoms are also not similar.

The findings mentioned in this paper also accentuates the point that no anti-anxiety drug can remove the symptoms for all fear-based disorders. This often leads the medical professionals to prescribe cocktails of drugs as a measure.


Etkin, A. & Wager, T. D. (2007). Functional neuroimaging of anxiety: a meta-analysis of emotional processing in PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. American Journal of Psychiatry164(10), 1476-1488.

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