Anxiety Disorders Program
Our mission is to better understand and reduce the burden of anxiety and related disorders through integrated clinical research programs. We focus on developing and testing pharmacological and psychological treatments for anxiety and related disorders with particular interest in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety. Additionally, we are interested in learning about the effects of these treatments on brain structure and function to help advance our understanding of the underlying pathology of anxiety disorders. For example, we have received external grants use magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study obsessive compulsive disorder and cognitive behavioral therapy in both children and adults. Our work on disease mechanisms enhances our ability to diagnose, treat and ultimately prevent and cure anxiety disorders.
We address this mission across disciplines. For example, collaborations with Radiology are leading to a study examining claustrophobia and medical patients presenting for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We are working with Neurology to examine the relationship between social anxiety and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). In addition, we have collaborated with other anxiety disorder centers across the country to develop instruments to assess cognitions in OCD. Our emphasis on dissemination of clinically effective treatment protocols addresses the need for improved management of anxiety disorders in general clinical settings. We recently completed a study examining the effectiveness of a minimal therapist contact treatment protocol for social phobia. The findings suggest that a similar cognitive-behavioral treatment could be applied in settings with limited psychotherapy resources (e.g., rural communities). Given that we are in a medical setting, we have particular interest in the interaction between medical conditions and anxiety, examining them from a clinical health perspective. More specifically, we are interested in social anxiety among patients with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), nystagmus, and shy bladder.
Our research themes are divided into specific child and adult tracks, as well as by anxiety disorders.
Ongoing Adult Studies
- Hyperhidrosis and social anxiety
- Nystagmus and social anxiety
- Minimal therapist contact treatment for social phobia
- Claustrophobia among medical patients presenting for MRI
Key Mayo Personnel (Adult)
Ongoing Child Studies
- Effects of CBT on neurochemicals in pediatric OCD
- Development of the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire for Children
- Parent perceptions of the etiology of childhood anxiety disorders
- Development of a 5-day intensive treatment of OCD
Key Mayo Personnel (Child)