The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) - a surgically implanted pacemaker-like device that electrically stimulates the brain. Currently approved for treatment of epilepsy and under study for treatment of depression. Historically, medical treatments for epilepsy and depression often find application in anxiety disorders. Contrast with Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

Valerian - a plant (Valeriana Officinalis) whose roots are used as a herbal remedy (sedative and antispasmodic). CAUTION: Valerian may actually be a stimulant for some people, and it may cause paralysis and a weakening of the heartbeat at extremely high doses.

Vapors or Vapours - an 18th century belief that nervous illness resulted from vapors produced by the uterus which would affect the brain. Also see hysteria.

Vasoconstrictor - anything that causes blood vessels to temporarily shrink and reduce blood flow. Also see Raynaud's syndrome. Contrast with vasodilator.

Vasodilator - anything that causes blood vessels to temporarily expand and increase blood flow. Contrast with vasoconstrictor.

Vasovagal Syncope - an acute fall in blood pressure caused by excessive relaxation of peripheral blood vessels and resulting in tachycardia. This condition is caused by acute pain or fear and can cause nausea, respiratory distress and fainting. Also see cardiology.

Vent - to express emotionally charged thoughts. Often helps to reduce severity and promote better understanding of emotional issues.

Vertigo - a sense of dizziness or weakness. Often, but not exclusively, associated with acrophobia.

Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) Therapy - a form of exposure therapy using artificial or computer-generated sensory experiences. VRE was first shown effective in the treatment of acrophobia in 1995. Further application to various phobias and PTSD are being explored.

Visceral - pertaining to the inner body or deeply felt.

Visual Cortex - a major portion of each occipital lobe that processes image information from the eyes.

Vitamin - any substance required by the body to maintain metabolism, but does not provide energy or build tissue. Vitamins C, B-12, and B-complex seem to be mildly helpful in regard to anxiety disorders.

VNS - see Vagus Nerve Stimulator.

Vomiting - the ejection of stomach contents through the mouth. Vomiting is a common symptom of intense anxiety. Likewise, fear of vomiting, emetophobia, is a common symptom of anxiety disorders. Also see GERD, gastrointestinal.

Voodoo - a spiritual belief system rooted in African tradition. Elements of voodoo regard anxiolytic and anxiogenic practices, sometimes involving herbal preparations. Also see religion.

VRE - see Virtual Reality Exposure.

The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders