UAMS Joins $12 Million Study on Treating Anxiety Disorders

By todd

The intervention, called CALM (Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management), will deliver evidence-based treatment to patients in 13 clinics with any of four anxiety disorders. The effectiveness study is funded by a $12 million, multi-site grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The study will be conducted by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego, University of Washington, Rand Corporation and UAMS.

Greer Sullivan, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Mark Edlund, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, will be the lead investigators in the study for UAMS. Arkansas will have three clinics participating in the study – two private clinics in the Little Rock area and one at UAMS.

“This intervention allows patients to choose their treatment – either cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. A clinical specialist assists the physician to engage the patient and monitor the treatment response,” Sullivan said. “These approaches have been successfully employed in large-scale studies for depression treated in primary care clinics and we believe they may work for anxiety disorder as well.”

Anxiety disorders are more common than depressive disorders and are difficult to manage. Many anxiety disorders mimic physical symptoms associated with serious physical conditions, such as heart attacks and asthma, and more people with anxiety disorders are treated by primary care doctors than by psychiatrists or mental health specialists. The CALM approach allows the patient to continue treatment with his or her primary care doctor but provides additional monitoring and consultation from mental health specialists. Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,320 students and 690 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year.

UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.