Spider Phobia Can Be Cured With New Treatment

Posted: Dec 14 2015, 3:00am CST | by , Updated: Dec 14 2015, 10:25pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Spider Phobia can be Cured with New Treatment
Photo Credit: Getty Images

New treatment can reduce fear of spiders in just two minutes.

Are you one of those people who are scared of eight-legged tiny creature that crawls on floor or walls or found hanging from the web? And every time, when you see it, chills runs through your body?

Now researchers have found a new way to overcome arachnophobia. Researchers from University of Amsterdam suggest that the fear of spiders can be instantly decreased by using a single dose of a drug after 2 minute exposure to the creepy creature.

The treatment is based on the idea of ‘reconsolidation’, which was presented by Joseph LeDoux 15 years ago.  According to the notion, memories can be strengthened or weakened and in this treatment, researchers erased a fearful memory by giving a beta blocker that treats high blood pressure.

In the study, 45 participants who had a fear of spiders were recruited. They were divided into two groups. One was given a drug propranolol while others were treated with placebo. The drugs were given following a brief exposure to a tarantula. 

The participants who received propranolol showed less avoidance behavior, in fact, they expressed willingness to come close to spider. This change in behavior will last one year, according to researchers.

“Here we show for the first time that an amnesic drug given in conjunction with memory reactivation transformed avoidance behavior to approach behavior in people with a real-life spider fear. The new treatment is more like surgery than therapy,” said Merel Kindt, one of the authors of the study.

“Currently, patients with anxiety disorders and PSTD receive multiple sessions of cognitive behavioral treatment or daily drug intake with a gradual and (often temporary) decline to symptoms. The proposed revolutionary intervention involves one single, brief intervention that leads to a sudden, substantial and lasting loss of fear.”

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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