Disorders of affect and addiction

Disorders of affect and addiction and their interface with medicine theme

This theme addresses a group of disorders which are characterised by difficulties in the regulation of emotions (e.g. anxiety disorders and depression) and impulses (e.g. substance use and eating disorders), and frequently occur alongside each other and other illness.

We aim to use knowledge gained from the basic and applied health sciences to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with disorders of affect and addiction.

The disorders described in this theme are common and the approaches we have developed, especially in the development of psychological treatments, allow for rapid translation into benefits for patients and the health system.

Therapies have to be accessible, as many patients present to medical services outside specialist care. We therefore use the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) infrastructure to develop the best treatments, to be available to the largest numbers of patients in the shortest amount of time.

Theme Lead: Professor Carmine Pariante

Our objectives

Personalised or stratified medicine: to improve our ability to offer the right treatments for the right patient - this includes developing models to predict who will have a poor response to existing first line therapies to allow identification of novel therapeutic targets.

Experimental medicine: to use insights from cognitive and neuroscience to develop novel treatments with a particular focus on experimental medicine and developing more effective psychological therapies.

Early intervention and accessibility: the disorders we manage in this theme are common, so we need treatments which are inherently accessible. Our translational goal is therefore to develop treatments which are capable of having population impacts. We have developed a range of approaches to do this, particularly using technologies from electronic and mobile-health.

Mental-physical health interface: most of the disorders we manage present in general health care settings and mental health services only see the most extreme cases. We therefore focus on the mental-physical health interface, emphasising the importance of good mental health to physical health outcomes and vice-versa.