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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Neuroscience and Novel Therapeutics Unit (NNT)

Information on Clinical Studies for Patients and Families

Is a Clinical Study the Right Fit for Your Child?

Children go through many phases of development. It can be hard to know if a child’s behavior is a result of normal development or if it’s a sign of something more serious. Occasional outbursts are a normal outcome of being tired, uncomfortable, or frustrated. In some children, these outbursts can be chronic and explosive.

If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around your child, the study on irritability may be right for your child. Children who enroll in our studies have irritability that significantly affects how they function at home, in school, and with other children.

Current Studies on Irritability and ADHD

We are currently seeking to enroll children for studies on both irritability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to learn more about research treatment options.

View the brochures below to learn more about both studies.

brochure for NNT's irritable child research study

Are you walking on eggshells around your irritable child?


Enrolling Children and Adolescents Ages 8 to 17

JOIN A STUDY AT NIH: Children who enroll in our studies have irritability that significantly impacts their functioning at home, in school, and with other children. Eligible children may be offered a diagnostic assessment, a new approach to cognitive behavioral therapy, or non-treatment research options. Child can remain on current medications. Parents and child must agree to the child’s participation.

Eligible children with an ADHD diagnosis may participate as a comparison group in the non-treatment options.

image of NNT's ADHD study brochure

Do you have a child with ADHD?

NIH research study ages 8 to 17

Eligible children may JOIN A STUDY that describes the moods and behaviors of children with an ADHD diagnosis, and investigates brain function and irritability.

Participation includes interviews, research testing, and brain imaging scans conducted over one to ten outpatient visits. Child can remain on current medications. Children must be medically healthy and not currently suicidal, psychotic, or hospitalized. Parents and child must agree to child’s participation.

This study is comparing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to severe irritability in children. There is no cost to participate. Compensation is provided.

Phone: 301-496-8381
TTY#: 1-866-411-1010

What is a clinical research study?

A clinical research study is often called a clinical trial or a protocol. Children must meet the study’s eligibility requirements, and parent and child must consent to participant in a study. Learn more about Clinical Trials at NIMH.

What Types of Studies does NNT conduct?

Observational Study

  • 1-day outpatient (onsite or virtual) evaluation
  • Study describes moods and behaviors
  • Up to 10 follow-up visits (onsite or virtual) that include diagnostic assessments, questionnaires, mobile phone apps, computer tasks and brain imaging

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • 12 therapy sessions and 20 weeks of evaluation
  • Child remains on current medications
  • Evaluate techniques and strategies to manage and modify irritability and disruptive behavior
  • Will also use technology such as mobile phones to assist with treatment

Childhood Irritability Newsletter

Image of NNT Childhood Irritability Newsletter
The Spring 2021 issue of the Childhood Irritability Newsletter includes information about CBT and irritability, the CALM-IT mobile app, Covid-19 health and safety updates, book resources for parents, and more.

Select Publications

Contact Information

Melissa A. Brotman, PhD
Director, Neuroscience and Novel Therapeutics

Emotion and Development Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
9000 Rockville Pike, Building 15K
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Phone: (301) 435-6645