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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. Learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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

Featured Studies

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

Inflammation and Threat Sensitivity in PTSD

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 1, 2019
Location: San Francisco, California
Eligibility: Ages 30–60, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The overall goals of this study are to examine the relationship between chronic inflammation and threat and reward sensitivity, and to determine the effects of acute inflammation on threat sensitivity, in individuals with and without moderate to severe PTSD symptoms. The investigators will first conduct an observational study to examine the relationship between chronic inflammation and neural and behavioral measures of threat sensitivity. Then, the investigators will conduct a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects study to examine the effects of acute inflammation on neural and behavioral measures of threat sensitivity.

NMDA Receptor Modulation for Hyperarousal in PTSD

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: October 1, 2018
Location: Houston, Texas
Eligibility: Ages 21–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This Phase 1b study examines the safety and efficacy of parenterally-administered lanicemine in a parallel-arm, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in adult patients (N=24) with significant PTSD symptoms and elevated anxiety potentiated startle (APS). Investigator hypothesize that lanicemine (100 mg) displays a normalization of APS following three infusions over 5 non-consecutive days. If target engagement is demonstrated and the drug is safe and tolerable in this patient population, investigator will proceed to a larger POC study.

A Lay-Led Intervention for War and Refugee Related Trauma

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 14, 2018
Locations: Cleveland, Ohio; Seattle, Washington
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study will examine the initial efficacy and feasibility of a program called Islamic Trauma Healing by conducting a small RCT (N = 60) comparing Islamic Trauma Healing in an U.S. Somali refugee sample to a waitlist control on key targets of PTSD, depression, somatic symptoms, and quality of life. The hypothesis is that those in Islamic Trauma Healing will show a greater reduction of PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and somatic symptoms and show a greater improvement in quality of well-being than those in the waitlist condition (WL).

Identifying Neural Mechanisms of PTSD Symptom Reduction Induced by Estrogen

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 29, 2017
Locations: Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–45, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study aims to first identify the optimal estradiol (E2) dose that best engages the fear extinction network among healthy women using oral contraceptives. The second objective is to then evaluate the impact of this optimal E2 dose, when administered in conjunction with 5 sessions of Prolonged Exposure therapy, on the functional activity of the fear extinction network of women with clinically significant posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. This approach will elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying effective exposure treatment for these symptoms, and will document how estradiol could be used as adjunct to enhance the outcome of extinction-based therapies.

Neuroeconomics of Social Behavior Following Trauma Exposure

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Belmont, Massachusetts
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–45, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study will use a neuroeconomic paradigm with state-of-the-art imaging protocols to probe abnormal social reward processing underlying social withdrawal in symptomatic trauma-exposed women. By also gathering self-report measures of social anhedonia, performance on non-social and social reward valuation tasks, and measures of real-world social functioning including social network size, we aim to specify how alterations in social reward processing result in social withdrawal and functional impairment.

Suvorexant and Sleep's Benefits to Therapeutic Exposure for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 3, 2017
Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to examine effects of blocking the orexin system with suvorexant after exposure-based intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on sleep, PTSD symptoms, and intersession habituation.

Development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Techniques for Studying Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: November 6, 2006
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study is intended to help develop new MRI imaging techniques for studying mood and anxiety disorders. Researchers believe that depression and anxiety disorders may cause structural and functional changes in the brain. This study will optimize the way MRI scans are collected to look at brain structure and examine how the brain behaves while subjects perform particular tasks.

Healthy normal subjects between 18 and 50 years of age who have never had a major psychiatric disorder and who have no first-degree relatives with mood disorders may be eligible for this study. Candidates are screened by phone with questions about their psychiatric and medical history, current emotional state and sleep pattern, and family history of psychiatric disorders. Candidates who pass the preliminary screening then undergo additional screening interviews and laboratory tests.

Participants undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing, as follows:

" MRI scans: Subjects are asked to participate in an MRI study on one of several scanners to measure blood flow in the brain, concentrations of certain chemicals in the brain, or magnetic properties of the brain. MRI uses a strong magnet and radio waves to obtain pictures of the brain. The subject lies still on a narrow bed with a metal coil close to the head. For this study, subjects may be asked to wear a special coil on the neck to help measure blood flow. They may be asked to watch a screen presenting images or to do a task in which they respond to pictures or sounds and may be asked to return for additional scans.

" Neuropsychological testing: Subjects may undergo tests of cognitive performance. Often, people with mood disorders have subtle changes in performance on these tests that allow researchers to pinpoint where brain abnormalities occur. Before the tests can be used in patients, they must be validated by using healthy subjects. These tests are presented either orally, in written form, or on a computer.

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Evaluation of Patients With Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Healthy Volunteers

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: September 21, 2001
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 3–99, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this protocol is to allow for the careful screening of patients and healthy volunteers for participation in research protocols in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Lab (ETPB) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and for the collection of natural history data. In addition the protocol will allow clinicians to gain more experience in the use of a variety of polysomnographic and high-density EEG recordings. Subjects in this protocol will undergo an evaluation which may include: a psychiatric interview; a diagnostic interview; rating scales; a medical history; a physical exam; brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); electroencephalography (EEG); electrocardiography (EKG), magnetoencephalography (MEG); blood, saliva and urine laboratory evaluation; and a request for medical records. Subjects may also be asked to complete questionnaires about attitudes towards research and motivation for research participation. The data collected may also be linked with data from other mood and anxiety disorder protocols (e.g., brain imaging, DNA, psychophysiology tests, treatment studies, etc) for the purposes of better understanding the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment response of patients with mood disorders. Parents of minors will be interviewed. Upon conclusion of the screening process, subjects will either be offered participation in a research protocol and will sign the appropriate informed consent, or will be considered not appropriate for participation in research and will be referred back into the community. The current protocol thus serves as an entry point for individuals with mood or anxiety disorders or healthy volunteers to enter NIMH IRB approved ETPB protocols.