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Mental Health Information Centre - Southern Africa

Researching clinical and genetic correlates of anxiety disorders

Who are we and what are our aims with this research?

We are clinicians and researchers from the MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress disorders at the Department of Psychiatry, Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The aim of our research is to find out more about the
nature, causes and symptoms of anxiety-related disorders such as obsessive-compulsive (OCD), hair-pulling, social anxiety and panic disorder. The principal investigators are Proff Dan Stein and Christine Lochner.

Who can participate?

There are different types of volunteers needed for participation:
•Persons who feel anxious/think that they may have any of the abovementioned conditions.
•Persons who pick their skin or scabs when they are anxious or bored–to the point where it becomes a problem.
•Persons who have already been diagnosed with any of the abovementioned disorders.
•Persons with problematic hair-pulling or those already diagnosed with hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania);
•First-degree relatives of persons diagnosed with OCD.
•We also need healthy controls.

What will participation involve?

Participation involves attendance of 1session. During this session, participants are assessed individually by a clinical psychologist. They complete self-report questionnaires and give a blood sample for genetic analysis.
If suitable for brain imaging, participants are scanned during a subsequent session. At that time, participants also complete a number of neuropsychological tasks in the form of computerized games. All procedures are carefully
explained by the investigators, and all participants provide informed consent beforehand. Everything is confidential!

Why participate? What are the benefits of participating?

•We all get anxious sometimes. But maybe you have wondered whether you are more anxious than others in certain situations (e.g. exams) and why you freak out when others seem calm. If so, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get a free evaluation by a clinical psychologist.
•During this evaluation you will also get the opportunity to discuss your diagnosis, possible treatment or referral options.
•This is also a good opportunity for those who want to get involved in clinical research.

If someone would like to participate, who should they contact?

If you think you are up for the challenge, and want to contribute to this study, please contact: Prof Christine Lochner 021–938 9179, e-mail: cl2@sun.ac.za or Lian Taljaard 021–938 9654, e-mail: liant@sun.ac.za for more information.

Mental Health Topics

In partnership with:

University of Stellenbosch
South African Medical Research Council
University of Cape Town