Mental Health Experts to Present Newest Research on Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, OCD at Anxiety and Depression Conference 2014

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Some of the most experienced and knowledgeable clinicians and researchers from diverse disciplines are meeting to discuss new scientific research and treatment approaches for mood and anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are considered gateway disorders because they often lead to depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts.

More than one thousand mental health and scientific experts will meet March 26–30 to attend the Anxiety and Depression Conference 2014 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, in Chicago, Illinois. The conference is sponsored by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Anxiety disorders are among the best understood brain disorders, with available effective evidence-based psychological and pharmacological treatments. These disorders interfere with daily functioning for 40 million adults in the U.S., and they are the most common mental illness in children, affecting one in eight. As many as two-thirds of adults with an anxiety disorder were undiagnosed or untreated as children. Anxiety disorders are considered gateway disorders because they often lead to depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts.

Depressive disorders affect about 19 million adults. More than 50 percent of people diagnosed with depression also have an anxiety disorder. Comorbid anxiety and depression account for the most disabling mental health disorders in the United States.

Under the conference theme "Personalized Treatments for Anxiety and Mood Disorders," experts will present their findings and clinical experience. For more details, visit the ADAA website.

Jordan W. Smoller, MD, ScD, will deliver the Jerilyn Ross Lecture “Will Genetic Research Help Us Find Better Treatments?” on Thursday evening. His research has focused on identifying the role of genes and experience in patients’ risks for developing major depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other psychiatric disorders. He and his colleagues also study pharmacogenetic predictors of treatment response and the ways in which advances in genetics may affect clinical practice in psychiatry. Dr. Smoller is the author of The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior.

Chicago-area experts presenting talks include Mark Pollack, MD, chair of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center; Patrick McGrath, PhD, Alexian Brothers Health System; Karen Cassiday, PhD, Anxiety Treatment Group; and others from the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern and many local practices.

One focus will be on anxiety disorders and depression and the risk to suicide. Anxiety disorders are well-known as a factor in assessing suicide risk. Ron Kessler, PhD, Harvard Medical School, will discuss predictors of suicides in the U.S. Army compared to the civilian population, as a part of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army-STARRS) study.

Among more than 150 presentations, these topics will be presented:

  •     Treatment of autism and OCD
  •     Treatment for depressed and suicidal adolescents
  •     Traumatic brain injury
  •     Technology-enhanced interventions for anxiety disorders (e.g., webcams, online videos, and virtual reality)
  •     Genetics and biomarkers for anxiety and depressive disorders

An expert panel,“Treating Children, Adolescents, and Teens With Anxiety and Depression,” will convene on March 26 for a session open to the public. Presenters will identify symptoms and early warning signs of an anxiety disorder, with a focus on social anxiety disorder, a serious often-overlooked disorder. They will provide updates on CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and tips to motivate and engage youth, look at ways to prevent these disorders, and answer questions.

The media will have opportunities to interview experts and attend all sessions. A complete list of sessions and new-research posters, including abstracts, is available online.

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