Last updated on February 2018

Providing Tools for Effective Care and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Brief description of study

PROTECT-AD is a cognitive behavioral treatment study involving highly qualified psychotherapeutic centers at seven German universities.

It is our goal to further investigate and optimize existing effective treatments of anxiety disorders. In order to achieve this, the investigators want to investigate the effect of extinction learning in an "intensified" psychological intervention on treatment outcome in adults and children with anxiety disorders.

The intensified psychological intervention is characterized by a higher number of exposure trials over a short time period. In the control condition the exposure trials take place in a weekly interval, analog to standard care.

Detailed Study Description

Novel preclinical research evidence suggests extinction learning as the core mechanism of action of exposure-based therapies and provides according strategies to improve the effectiveness of treatment by optimized extinction. A translational research agenda is suggested to examine whether enhanced extinction learning components derived from preclinical research, applied within an "intensified" exposure-based treatment, improves outcomes. In a multicenter randomized clinical trial, linked to mechanistic subprojects, the investigators test in n=620 patients with primary AD allowing for comorbidity whether intensified psychological interventions based on augmented extinction learning (IPI) result in faster, stronger and more persistent outcomes on subjective, clinical, behavioral, physiological and neural indices as compared to an, otherwise identical, standard research treatment without explicit enhanced extinction (TAU). The investigators hypothesize that (a) enhanced extinction elements (IPI) will result in higher effect sizes, faster recovery, (b) more pronounced changes in an array of systems, including elements of extinction learning and in objective behavioral measures assessed in intersession exposure trials. The investigators also examine moderators of outcome (i.e. type of diagnosis, comorbidity) and explore whether IPI is associated with lower health care costs.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02605668

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