Woman in distress

正确对待焦虑

纽约—如果研究者想要评估焦虑新疗法的效力,传统的方法是研究大白鼠或小白鼠在不舒服或压力状态下的行为。啮齿动物会避开明亮开放的空间,在野外,这样的环境很容易让它们成为猎物。因此,它们在测试装置中的自然倾向是找到光照较弱的地方或墙角边。实验动物在无保护区域呆的时间越久,就可以认为药物对焦虑的疗效越好。

但用这种方法研发的药物实际上在减轻人类焦虑中效果并不十分出色。患者和医生都认为现有选择方案——包括地西泮等苯二氮卓药物和百忧解或左洛复等选择性羟色胺再摄取抑制剂——不足以治愈焦虑。在经过几十年的研究后,一些大型制药公司竖起白旗,削减研发新抗焦虑药物的资金。

但我们决不能放弃对所谓的焦虑症的治疗。焦虑症包括与恐惧和焦虑有关的问题。当潜在伤害源位于附近或可能出现时就会产生恐惧感,而焦虑感常常与未来伤害可能性有关。从全球看,一生中罹患焦虑症的比例大约为15%,给社会造成巨大成本。20世纪90年代末,据估计焦虑所造成的经济负担高达400亿美元以上。总成本可能远远高于这个数字,因为许多焦虑症根本没有被诊断出来。

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