February 18, 2009
Take a Pill and Watch Your Fears Fade Away
Dutch researchers have discovered that a common blood pressure pill seems to ease anxiety disorders and phobias. In time they believe it could be used to take away bad memories.
tested a group of healthy volunteers by using a memory of spiders. The panel of 60 men and women were taught to associate pictures of spiders with a mild shock. This process gave the researchers the needed fearful memory. The control group were also shown the same picture of the spider without being shocked.
One day later the people who were given the drug propranolol were less likely to have a fear response when shown the spider picture compared to those not taking the drug.
The study plans to see how long the effects on the memory the drug has. Further steps will include patients who are suffering from panic disorders and phobias according to study leader Merel Kindt, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam.