Psychiatry and Behavioral Health > Stress, Trauma and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC)

Stress, Trauma and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC)

Why choose Wayne Health for stress, trauma and anxiety care?

Wayne Health’s Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC – is part of the general psychiatry clinics of the Wayne State University School of Medicine department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. STARC’s mission is to bring clinical insight to research and to advance clinical services through leading edge research knowledge. Our clinical work is mainly focused on anxiety and trauma-related disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in civilians, health care workers, first responders, law enforcement,  refugees or victims of torture or human trafficking. Our providers use medication therapy, psychotherapy, exercise and lifestyle modification to help patients achieve their full capacity for a fulfilling life.

Wayne Health stress, trauma and anxiety services offered

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety/Phobia
  • Specific Phobia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorders with or without Agoraphobia



Risk factors

What causes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can get PTSD. These events can include combat, sexual or physical violence, serious accidents, and natural disasters. Many people who go through a traumatic event don’t get PTSD. It isn’t clear why some people get PTSD and others don’t.


Wayne Health's approach to treatment

Disorder-specific treatment

  • Panic disorder: Requires exposure to physiological symptoms. This may range from teaching you how to recreate specific symptoms to inducing a panic attack. This allows you to gain mastery over your symptoms as opposed to the panic attacks controlling you. Secondly, if you are avoiding situations where panic attacks occur, you are instructed to face those situations to regain confidence that you are safe.
  • Social anxiety or phobia: Requires teaching you to face social situations you are avoiding in a controlled manner. Sometimes further social skill development is necessary. Role playing social situations in therapy sessions can be beneficial to attaining success in real life. Through these experiences, you can regain the lost sense of control.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: In initial stages of treatment, opening up about the trauma in a safe and accepting environment can be helpful. Eventually, exposure to avoided situations that remind you of the trauma is necessary. Exposure to the actual memories that elicit emotional responses is critical. The goal is to reduce the intense emotional reactivity to recall of those memories. Imaginal exposure therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy are types of exposure therapies that have proven effective.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Exposure and Response Prevention therapy has been the effective treatment of choice. The idea is to have you “expose” yourself to the avoided worry thoughts while preventing you from engaging in a behavior (i.e. the compulsion) that has served to provide temporary relief from the worry. An example is purposefully creating a situation where you believe your hands are contaminated and then preventing you from washing your hands.
  • Generalized-anxiety disorder: Cognitive therapy is the preferred treatment. You are educated on the adaptive nature of worrying, but then learn to tolerate your uncertainty, and work on correcting distortions in your thinking.
  • Specific phobia: A response hierarchy is developed to help you gradually develop greater tolerance for an avoided situation or thing. Exposure to the avoided situation can start out as an “imaginal” one and then proceed to real life.

Wayne Health’s Dr. Arash Javanbakht provides more tips for a healthy life in this article here!

Advancing research and medical education

Physicians and researchers at Wayne Health are also faculty members of the Wayne State University School of Medicine who conduct research and clinical studies. This makes the latest treatments and clinical trials available to you sooner than other health providers without a medical school affiliation.

STARC research is focused on understanding the epidemiology, neurobiology (genetics and epigenetics, brain imaging, inflammation) and environmental triggers of trauma and stress in adults and children, and intergenerational transfer of trauma, specifically among refugees. We study the use of advanced technologies of telemedicine and augmented reality, as well as body-based interventions, such as dance and movement therapies, in treatment of anxiety and trauma.

For more information, please visit the links below at the WSU School of Medicine.