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The University of Southampton
Centre for Clinical and Experimental PsychopharmacologyGAD Research

Our current work

Our team is conducting a number of different research projects at the CCEP, examining different treatments for anxiety (both psychological and pharmacological) and the different effects they have on anxiety.

Our research relies on the willingness of both healthy volunteers (without an anxiety disorder) and sufferers of GAD. To find out more, scroll down or click on the links on the right.

Pregabalin augmentation of existing SSRI/SNRI treatments

Recent research (Rickels et al. 2012) has shown that pregabalin has positive effects when augmenting SSRI or SNRI treatments in patients with anxiety disorders, compared to a placebo control. We hope to use computer tasks to find out why pregabalin has these potentially helpful effects, which will help us to improve augmentation treatments.

Can yogic breathing techniques be used to supplement antidepressent treatments?

Pregabalin augmentation is not always effective and some patients report troublesome drowsiness. There is a clear need for further studies of other augmentation (‘booster’) treatments in the group of patients who have not responded to initial treatment. A recent study found that a yoga-based breath intervention programme was a successful augmentation treatment - at the CCEP we are examining how and why this therapy may help anxiety sufferers.

Using the 7.5% CO2 model of anxiety to assess SSRI effectiveness in anxiety and depression.

This study will examine the extent to which the medicine duloxetine (which is effective in the treatment of GAD and depression) alters response to CO2 inhalation in people who have GAD and/or depression. It will also examine differences in response to CO2 inhalation between patients who have only GAD or only depression, and patients who have both GAD and depression.

How does anxiety affect inflammatory status and cognitive processing?

The purpose of this study is to examine whether there is an association between inflammatory responses, anxious state and cognitive function in patients with generalized anxiety disorder in comparison to healthy individuals, and how these associations change over time.

Mindfulness-based anxiety treatments

There is evidence that psychological treatments for anxiety based on mindfulness meditation (such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, or Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) can be effective in reducing anxiety. We conducted a series of studies looking at the extent to which mindfulness reduced negative emotional biases and anxiety in healthy individuals.

"Causes, symptoms and cures for anxiety disorders are still not fully understood by clinicians, and it is estimated that only 20 – 30% of sufferers receive the correct diagnosis and adequate treatment. At the CCEP we aim to identify mechanisms by which some treatments can be more effective than others for particular individuals"

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