Optimizing Psychotherapy for Anxiety Disorders (OPTIMAX)

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Zurich
Updated on 6 February 2022
behavior therapy
treatment regimen
psychiatric disorder
psychotropic drugs
panic disorder
cognitive therapy
social phobia
specific phobia


Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and are associated with a high burden of disease, costs and individual impairment worldwide. Psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is the first line treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT is effective in modifying dysfunctional cognitions and reducing avoidance behavior, thus leading to a lasting reduction of symptoms.

Even though CBT is generally effective, around 50% of patients do not benefit sufficiently from this treatment. The current study aims at optimizing the treatment of anxiety disorders by identifying predictors of treatment response. Multiple (neuro-)psychological, biological, genetic and behavioral variables will be combined into a comprehensive prediction model of treatment outcome. Knowledge on predictors can then be used to improve therapy on an individual patient level.

Condition Anxiety Disorders
Treatment Unified Treatment Protocol
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03945617
SponsorUniversity of Zurich
Last Modified on6 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

aged between 18-65 years
one of the following primary axis I disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia; Social Anxiety Disorder; Anxiety Disorder not otherwise specified, Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety, Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depression; Specific Phobia; Generalized Anxiety Disorder
if on medication If on medication or in other types of treatments, patients must be willing to remain stable on their treatment for the duration of the acute phase/therapy of the study
not currently receiving other psychotherapeutic treatment for anxiety or another condition
fluent German
provision of written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

concomitant psychotherapy
medical relative contraindications involve conditions that impede thorough exposure, e.g. cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases or pregnancy
current or past schizophrenia, psychosis, or bipolar disorder
current suicidal ideation
current substance/alcohol dependence or abuse
cluster A or B personality disorder
pregnancy (for women)
Clear my responses

How to participate?

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What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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