Home Health Covid anxiety, a widespread disorder that can be treated

Covid anxiety, a widespread disorder that can be treated

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Ruminating all the time, checking if others have symptoms of Covid, being afraid to touch the handles in public transport or the counters in shops and bars. In the most extreme cases, being afraid of going out and meeting other people or applying strict rules of cleanliness, bordering on obsession. These are the most common symptoms of “Covid-19 Anxiety Syndrome”, a disorder first highlighted in 2020 by Ana Nikcevic, of Kingston University and Marcantonio Spada, of London South Bank University.

The latest research conducted in the UK on this disorder showed that just over half of the participants are willing to give up public transport due to fear of contracting the virus and 49% avoided touching objects if present in public spaces. More severe symptoms of Covid-19 anxiety syndrome can also include agoraphobia, obsessive cleansing, an inability to complete or focus on tasks, sleep problems, and a loss of interest in reconnecting with friends and family. Attitudes that make it difficult to return to normalcy and that could be the indicator of the need to resort to psychological help.

The good news is that being a syndrome linked to the pandemic sooner or later it is destined to disappear, the less good news is that for those who suffer from it, the gradual return to everyday life is really uphill. “In these cases, the advice is to consider cognitive-behavioral and metacognitive therapy interventions designed to facilitate the abandonment of behaviors and strategies that could be harmful to one’s psychological well-being,” explains Spada. The first step will be to have a diagnosis thanks to an evaluation that uses empirically validated tests and interviews. Like blood tests, the psychodiagnostic evaluation – which is carried out by a psychologist or psychotherapist or psychiatrist – allows us to understand which elements are not under control and therefore to formulate a diagnosis.

Spada is also a member of the scientific committee of inTherapy, the first Italian national network of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy created by the Cognitive Studies Group, capable of giving an effective response based on scientific evidence, qualified, transparent and, when possible, rapid to psychological suffering.

Beyond the pandemic, psychological support is all the more important today. As reported by the Epicenter website of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, mental disorders are a public health problem, especially as their global weight is growing for the WHO. To give an example, according to the 2018 ISTAT report, over 2.8 million Italians (5.4% of the population over 15 years old) had suffered from depression during 2015. The report estimated that 7% of the population over the age of 14 (3.7 million people) had suffered from anxious-depressive disorders during the year. Psychological suffering has a concrete impact on people’s lives. It increases the risk of health problems, difficulties in professional fulfillment or in studies, socially problematic behaviors and a serious economic cost to society.

To help those who suffer from it, inTherapy offers face-to-face courses, online or mixed according to the patient’s preferences: it has now been proven that online psychotherapy has an efficacy very similar to face-to-face psychotherapy. “The most recent scientific studies have shown that the results obtained with online therapies are, in most cases, comparable to those of traditional face-to-face therapies. Thanks to inTherapy, even those who live far from our offices will have easy access to the best forms of therapy ”, explains Sandra Sassaroli, president and founder of the Cognitive Studies Group and Director of the Psychology Department of Sigmund Freud University in Milan.

The path of inTherapy provides great attention to the phase of diagnosis and identification of the problem, in order to give the patient an accurate understanding of his psychological suffering and to associate the most suitable therapist based on the diagnostic picture. Sassaroli concludes: “When we have a physical problem, for example a doubt about a diabetes, the analyzes that our general practitioner makes us do are fundamental to guide the treatment. Here, psychotherapy is also a health profession: diagnosis in psychotherapy is fundamental to guide the type of recommended and effective psychotherapeutic intervention “.


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