Research into anxiety at the Brain and Mind Centre makes use of modern technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the neural basis of the disorder, better understand its progression and to determine the impact of a range of interventions.

Associate Professor Jim Lagopoulos and his Advanced Multimodal Imaging team supports many of the MRI studies into anxiety.

Our Autism Clinic for Translational Research (ACTr) led by Associate Professor Adam Guastella has been investigating the hormone oxytocin for its applications to the treatment of anxiety. In 2012 the team, in collaboration with Professor Bernard Balleine from the Brain and Mind Centre Behavioural Neuroscience Program determined that oxytocin reduces negative thoughts in stressful situations. In the study, young men treated with oxytocin nasal spray reported fewer negative thoughts about their performance on a speech task than those who had not been treated, despite reporting similar levels of stress. The hormone had no effect on eye gaze or feelings of anxiety. These findings provide further evidence to support the potential of oxytocin to reduce some of the key symptoms associated with social anxiety.

We are studying the impact of sleep and the biological (circadian) clock on anxiety and other mood disorders and cognitive performance in the Chronobiology and Sleep Program.

Ongoing projects led by Professor Ian Hickie and the Youth Mental Health Program are shedding new light on personalised and effective early intervention for mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders.

In the laboratory, researchers in our Imaging Physics Program are developing technologies enabling scientists to test new drugs and interventions for a wide variety of brain disorders, including anxiety.

Participate in research

Social anxiety

If you are between 12 and 65 years of age and currently experience social anxiety (extreme shyness), you are invited to participate in this trial which will involve individual and/or group therapy. Find out more...

Useful links

Especially for young people