Anxiety Disorders Network

"Our Network organised a targeted meeting on “anxiety disorders across the lifespan”, which will be held immediately after the ECNP 2018 Congress in Barcelona. Recently, we have published two seminal papers on the neurobiology of anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry which joined many excellent researchers from Europe and the rest of the world.”
Katharina Domschke and Simon Davies
Chairs of the Network 


Mission statement/aims

Anxiety Disorders ECNP NetworkThe 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 presently includes 28 members from 14 countries and has the principal goal of addressing 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, especially in previously neglected patient groups; and by building a platform for pragmatic randomised controlled effectiveness trials.

An 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 these estimates to extrapolate that around 69 million people may be affected across the entire population of the European Union, it was estimated that in 2010 anxiety disorders (excluding post-traumatic stress disorder) had a burden of cost approaching 66 billion Euros. Recognising that mental health problems are ‘the core health challenge of the 21st century’, the implementation of measures to reduce the impairment and other burdens associated with anxiety disorders will 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 harmonise 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 further publication by Baldwin, Pallanti and Zwanzger on the development of a European Research Network in this field in 2013. In 2017 the group published two consensus statements on biomarkers in Anxiety and related Disorders (Bandelow et al., Part I: Neuroimaging and genetics, Part II: Neurochemistry, neurophysiology and neurocognition) which have been influential and widely disseminated.

Priorities for the ADRN are reached through group consensus. Ideas for collaborative research include characterising differing endophenotypes across diagnoses; using neuroimaging, genetic polymorphism analyses, 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 aim to undertake 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 have been developed in consultation with representatives from relevant user and carer organisations.