Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program

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The Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program (MADRP) believes that solving the mystery of mental illness and improving how we treat mental illness begins with studying the brain. Therefore, the MADRP employs affective, cognitive, and social neuroscience perspectives and uses a multi-level, multi-unit analytic approach that integrates self-report and clinical scales, neuropsychological assessments, behavioral performance, neuropsychopharmacology, and peripheral and central psychophysiology. In addition, our studies involve children and adults and often incorporate clinical trials of pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions and longitudinal designs, from risk to illness to recovery. The Program primarily uses magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, DTI, sMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) of event-related potentials (ERP) as predominant tools to assess brain circuit function as they relate to emotion, affect regulation, motivation and cognition. The Program appreciates that individual differences in brain function have a major influence on a person’s risk for - and resilience from - illness and on which treatment approach is most likely to promote recovery. We focus on anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol and drug use disorders. The Program is intentionally multi-disciplinary and patient-oriented, and bridges both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and engages in collaboration with other investigators across campus, Chicago, the U.S. and the world. The MADRP aims to answer three main questions: 1) What are the nodes of brain dysfunction in mood, anxiety and addiction disorders?; 2) How do treatments work and for whom?; and 3) Where, when and how do exogenous neuromodulatory agents (e.g., environment, medications, drugs of abuse, hormones, direct current stimulation) exert their effects on brain and behavior. Ultimately, we seek to understand mental illness more fully, make current treatments better and innovate treatment and prevention strategies that are more targeted and precise, in order to reduce the burden of mental illness.

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