Anxiety Disorders Network
The Anxiety Disorders Research Network (ADRN) is an international multi-centre, independent collaborative cross-disciplinary research grouping, with support from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. It currently includes 24 centres across 11 countries and aims to address currently unmet needs in anxiety and related disorders. This is achieved by harmonising research and clinical databases and refining research methodologies; by evaluating innovative interventions, particularly in previously neglected patient groups; and by building a platform for pragmatic randomised controlled effectiveness trials. Our overall goal is to help address currently unmet needs in anxiety and related disorders.
The influential review of epidemiological studies of mental disorder within Europe, conducted on behalf of the European Brain Council, has demonstrated that when grouped together anxiety disorders have an estimated 12-month prevalence rate of approximately 14.0%. Using estimates to calculate the size of the population in the European Union that would be affected (69.1 million people), it was estimated that in 2010 anxiety disorders (excluding post-traumatic stress disorder) cost close to 66 billion Euros. As ‘mental disorders are the core health challenge of the 21st century’, implementing measures to reduce the impairment and burden associated with anxiety disorders would contribute significantly to meeting that challenge.
The ADRN 2010 ‘manifesto’ argued that unmet public health, clinical and research needs in anxiety disorders could be addressed by developing an independent collaborative European network. This could help harmonize research and clinical databases, improve research methodologies, refine prediction of clinical outcome, encourage evaluation of innovative interventions, and establish optimal approaches in important but often neglected patient groups. The ADRN was the subject of a recent Baldwin DS et al. publication.
Priorities for the ADRN are reached through group consensus. Ideas for collaborative research include characterising differing endophenotypes across diagnoses; using neuroimaging, genetic polymorphism analysis, and psychological and pharmacological challenge techniques to bridge the gap between preclinical and clinical studies; and investigating the neurobiological correlates of response to psychological and pharmacological interventions. We wish to undertake conduct case-controlled investigations of anxiety disorder patients with or without co-morbid depressive or substance use disorders; study predictors of clinical outcome and treatment response using dimensional and other approaches; and establish a wide platform to support pragmatic randomised effectiveness trials in patients with resistant illnesses. Some ideas are developed in consultation with representatives from relevant user and carer organisations.