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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive anxiety or worry on most days for at least six months. The anxiety or worry can relate to various aspects of life — such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday circumstances — and can cause significant problems in day-to-day functioning. Learn more about generalized anxiety disorder.

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For opportunities to participate in NIMH research on the NIH campus, visit the clinical research website. Travel and lodging assistance may be available.

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Improving Attentional and Cognitive Control in the Psychological Treatment of Intrusive Thoughts

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 30, 2021
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Eligibility: Ages 18–60, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The investigators are conducting this study to learn more about the cognitive and attentional processes among individuals with three types of repetitive negative thinking (RNT): mental rituals (as seen in obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD), worries (as seen in generalized anxiety disorder, GAD), and ruminations (as seen in major depressive disorder, MDD). Specifically, the investigators are studying whether psychological treatment can help people with RNT who have trouble stopping unwanted thoughts and shifting their attention.

Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Depression and Anxiety in Latin American College Students

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 1, 2021
Locations: Medellín, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The aim is to evaluate short term and longer term treatment effects of internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy compared to treatment as usual for college students with anxiety and/or depression in low-middle income countries of Latin America.

Dimensional Brain Behavior Predictors of CBT Outcomes in Pediatric Anxiety

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: December 31, 2016
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 7–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Anxiety is among the most prevalent, costly and disabling illnesses and tends emerge early in childhood. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment for early life anxiety, but as many as 40% of young patients who receive CBT fail to get better. The proposed study will examine brain changes marking positive response to CBT for anxiety and how these changes may differ in children compared adolescents. By helping us to understand how CBT works, this study will pave the way for new treatments to stop anxiety early.

Approach-Avoidance Conflict-a Multi-level Predictor for Therapy Response

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: June 30, 2016
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Eligibility: Ages 18–55, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This project aims to identify brain and behavioral characteristics of individuals experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder that will predict the effectiveness of Exposure-based therapy versus Behavioral Activation Therapy. Brain imaging aspects of the study will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). Behavioral assessments will include self-report questionnaires, computer-based and observational tasks, and interviews. Assessments will focus on how individuals process positive information (such as reward) and negative information (such as distressing images), as well as how people make decisions. These assessments will be conducted across 2-3 in-person sessions prior to beginning the treatment, and will be repeated across 2-3 in-person sessions after completing treatment. A blood draw will also be conducted pre- and post- treatment. Both the Exposure-based and Behavior Activation therapy will consist of 10, 90-minute weekly therapy sessions conducted in small groups.

Expectation of Unpleasant Events in Anxiety Disorders

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 24, 2003
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18–50, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Fear and anxiety are normal responses to a threat. However, anxiety is considered abnormal when the response to the threat is excessive or inappropriate. This study will examine changes in the body and brain that occur during unpleasant learning experiences in healthy volunteers with high, moderate, and low levels of anxiety.

A high degree of generalized anxiety is a component of many anxiety disorders and is regarded as a marker of vulnerability for these disorders. People with anxiety disorders and individuals with high degrees of anxiety have inappropriate expectations of unpleasant events. This study will investigate the development of expecting unpleasant events in healthy volunteers with varying degrees of anxiety using aversive conditioning models. A later phase of the study will enroll participants with anxiety disorders and compare their responses to those of healthy volunteers.

Patients who meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, and healthy volunteers who have no history of psychiatric or major medical illness will be enrolled in this study. Volunteers will come to the NIH Clinical Center three times for outpatient testing....