According to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one-third of people in the United States experience crippling anxiety, which prevents them from leading a normal life. Women are more at risk of suffering from anxiety than men. Although extensive research provides this information, the origins of anxiety and related anxiety diseases, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), are still unclear. OCD is an anxiety disorder that causes the sufferer to experience reoccurring and unwanted thoughts or compulsive and behaviors that are uncontrollable and interfere with daily life. In a study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the University of Utah scientists have discovered a link between specialized brain cells and OCD and anxiety in mice.

The Science

The University of Utah scientists proved that the presence of specialized brain cells, known as Hoxb8-lineage microglia, prevented mice from displaying OCD behaviors. Microglia are cells that control immune responses in the central nervous system, which account for up to 15% of all of the cells found within the brain. Additionally, Hoxb8 microglia makes up almost one-third of all the microglia in the brain. The study found that mice without these specialized brain cells displayed compulsive grooming, followed by hair loss. This finding mirrors symptoms in humans who struggle with a specific type of OCD known as trichotillomania, which causes a person to pull out their hair obsessively.

Furthermore, they found that the presence of female sex hormones created stronger OCD behaviors and anxiety in the mice. They found the female mice’s symptoms consistently more dramatic than their male counterparts. These findings can help scientists develop new drugs to help treat the affected mice, and therefore lead to a drug that can help people suffering from anxiety and OCD as well.

Looking for Help?

Dealing with anxiety and accompanying anxiety disorders often leads to self-medication and possible addictions to drugs or alcohol. Anxiety impacts work, family, friends, and lifestyle, just like an addiction. It is crucial to understand that you are not alone, and there is hope for a better future. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a nurturing space to support clients on their road to long-lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an anxiety and accompanying addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 844.332.1807 or visit us online.


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