Mission & History


Our mission is to promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders through education, practice, and research.


ADAA was founded in 1980 as the Phobia Society of America by a diverse group of clinicians and patients. The term "anxiety disorder" had not yet been coined. Most anxiety disorders were simply called phobias.

That changed as researchers discovered links between panic attacks and abnormal blood flow in the brain, learned that anxiety disorders are associated with pervasive social and health consequences, and discovered and tested various therapies and medications to treat anxiety disorders. ADAA adopted its new name in 1990 to reflect the changing and growing field.

Over the years ADAA has launched several national educational campaigns to promote awareness about anxiety disorders and encourage people to seek treatment. ADAA has also funded more than $1.5 million in anxiety disorder research.

Today ADAA continues to be the voice for those affected by anxiety, depression, and anxiety-related disorders. The organization is frequently cited by the media and also provides information and treatment referrals to tens of thousands each year by phone, e-mail, and through this website.

Read the Board of Directors 2011 Update.

Read more about the first 30 years of ADAA and a tribute to cofounder Jerilyn Ross.

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ADAA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, OCD, PTSD, depression, and related disorders and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them.


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