Program in Trauma-Related Disorders of Pain and Emotions
Anxiety disorders afflict about 40 million Americans, making them one of the most common diseases. Normal levels of fear are adaptive because they lead to protective and defensive responses in a dangerous environment. However, when fear is excessive and inappropriate it can severely curtail normal productive activities and produce profound distress. The problems for individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, their families and society at large are further exacerbated because they occur together with depression and excessive drug and alcohol use and abuse. One particularly debilitating anxiety disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is increasing because of trauma associated with military action around the globe. PTSD can occur because of experience with emotions associated with life-threatening experiences or from physical trauma to the brain. If untreated, PTSD may last, or worsen, over an affected individuals lifetime.
The researchers participating in this program range from basic scientists working with neurobiological laboratory models of seeking to learn how the brain can produce and inhibit fear, to clinicians treating anxiety disorders with cognitive and behavioral therapy. Our goal is to improve treatment of anxiety disorders and to better understand their causes through interactions between basic and translational scientists and clinicians. The research is supported by a number of grants from the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and the Department of Defense.
Mission: To understand the causes and neural mechanisms underlying anxiety disorders and their co-morbid conditions. To develop models of stress-related illness that will lead to a deeper understanding of the neurobiology of fear and anxiety. To investigate the basic mechanisms of extinction learning so that we can improve exposure-type therapy.
We also seek to unravel the interactions between emotional states such as fear and the experience of pain and pain-related disorders.
Disease areas: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD related to traumatic brain injury, comorbidity of anxiety disorders with depression and substance abuse.
Director: MS Fanselow
Key investigators: MS Fanselow, M Craske, I Spigelman, S Bradesi, B Naliboff, D Hovda, C Giza
Funding: NIMH, DoD, NARSAD
UCLA Interactions: Department of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Brain Research Institute, Center for the Study of Opioid Receptors and Drugs of Abuse (CSORDA), UCLA Behavioral Testing Core.