Woman in distress

Curare l’ansia nel modo giusto

NEW YORK – Quando i ricercatori vogliono valutare l’efficacia dei nuovi trattamenti contro l’ansia, l’approccio tradizionale è quello di studiare come si comportano i gatti o i topi in situazioni di stress. I roditori fuggono dagli spazi aperti e luminosi nei luoghi in cui, come in natura, diventerebbero facili prede. La loro tendenza naturale nei test clinici è quindi quella di trovare zone poco illuminate o vicino ai muri. Maggiore è il tempo che un animale sottoposto a cure farmaceutiche trascorre nelle aree in cui non è protetto, più efficace viene considerato il farmaco nella cura dell’ansia.

Ma i farmaci testati con quest’approccio non riescono in realtà a ridurre l’ansia nelle persone. Né i pazienti né i terapisti considerano infatti le opzioni disponibili (tra cui il benzodiazepine come il Valium e gli inibitori selettivi della ricaptazione della serotonina come il Prozac o lo Zoloft) come cure adeguate per l’ansia. Dopo decenni di ricerca, alcune delle grandi aziende farmaceutiche si stanno arrendendo e hanno diminuito di conseguenza gli sforzi per sviluppare nuovi farmaci contro l’ansia.

Non possiamo tuttavia permetterci di smettere di curare i disturbi d’ansia che comprendono i problemi legati sia alla paura che all’ansia stessa. Il sentimento di paura si manifesta quando una possibile fonte di pericolo è vicina o probabile, mentre il sentimento di ansia di solito riguarda la possibilità di un pericolo nel futuro. A livello mondiale la prevalenza dei disturbi d’ansia è pari a circa il 15% ed il costo sulla società è enorme. Alla fine degli anni ’90 si stimava che il peso economico legato all’ansia fosse pari a più di 40 miliardi di dollari. Ma il costo totale è senza dubbio più elevato in quanto diversi disturbi d’ansia non sono mai stati diagnosticati.

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