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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Academics & Research

UH provides research, treatment for anxiety and substance abuse

The Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory and Substance Use Treatment Clinic in the Department of Psychology is a place where students can study the connection between anxiety and substance use while patients receive help through a variety of treatments.

“We’re providing the best available care in the entire world,” said AHRL-SUTC Director Michael Zvolensky.

The clinic-lab focuses on understanding the connection between anxiety and addiction, but the patients who use its free services have behavioral problems ranging from smoking cigarettes to panic attacks.

In order to help patients, the one-year-old clinic builds their tolerance toward emotional events by having them confront their fears in safe conditions. Another way of treating patients is by encouraging them to change their thinking patterns, such as being more mindful of their day-to-day routines, said Zvolensky.

But the clinic also functions as a lab that trains undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral and visiting scholars to study anxiety-substance use.

Chad Brandt, a clinical psychology graduate student, works at the lab and said he thinks it is a great place for undergraduate students to experience what research is like.

“When you work in a treatment facility like we do,” Brandt said, “you never know exactly what you’re going to see.”

Although the clinic treats anyone 18 to 65 years old, Zvolensky said it prioritizes UH staff and students.

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