Chapter 19. The Tryptophan Depletion Technique in Psychiatric Research

  1. Eric J.L. Griez2,
  2. Carlo Faravelli3,
  3. David Nutt4 and
  4. Joseph Zohar5
  1. S.V. Argyropoulos1,
  2. J.K. Abrams1 and
  3. D.J. Nutt4

Published Online: 6 DEC 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0470846437.ch19

Anxiety Disorders: An Introduction to Clinical Management and Research

Anxiety Disorders: An Introduction to Clinical Management and Research

How to Cite

Argyropoulos, S.V., Abrams, J.K. and Nutt, D.J. (2001) The Tryptophan Depletion Technique in Psychiatric Research, in Anxiety Disorders: An Introduction to Clinical Management and Research (eds E. J.L. Griez, C. Faravelli, D. Nutt and J. Zohar), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846437.ch19

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands

  2. 3

    Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Florence University Medical School, Italy

  3. 4

    Psychopharmacology Unit, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, UK

  4. 5

    Department of Psychiatry and Anxiety Clinic, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, University of Tel Aviv, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Israel

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

  2. 4

    Psychopharmacology Unit, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 DEC 2001
  2. Published Print: 29 MAY 2001

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471978732

Online ISBN: 9780470846438

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Keywords:

  • anxiety disorders;
  • serotonin;
  • SSRIs;
  • antidepressants;
  • panic disorder;
  • tryptophan;
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder

Summary

Although tryptophan depletion (TD) is at this point familiar, if not exactly established in the study of depression, these are still early days for anxiety disorders. Now that conditions such as social anxiety disorder and generalised anxiety disorder have “matured” into an independent status, they have attracted more attention from researchers and the balance is in the process of being redressed. In summary, tryptophan depletion has established that the availability of serotonin is necessary for the action of SSRIs in depression. The picture in panic disorder appears to be similar, but the initial findings need replication, perhaps with the use of different chemical challenges. On the contrary, TD studies have been negative in OCD, perhaps because challenge tests have not been performed in this condition during TD. Studies are currently carried out in other anxiety disorders.