Don’t forget the side effects when erasing memories
Posted Monday 16 February 2009
New research published today in Nature Neuroscience suggests that beta blockers could be the answer to weakening or erasing painful or emotional memories for patients who experience phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Commenting on these new findings, Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"This is fascinating research that could transform the treatment for phobias and post traumatic stress disorder. Around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia and about 3.5% of the population will be affected by post traumatic stress disorder at some point yet our understanding of how to treat these conditions is still limited. While we welcome any advancement in this field we should also exercise caution before heralding this as a miracle cure."
"Eradicating emotional responses is clearly an area we would need to be very careful about. It could affect people’s ability to respond to dangerous situations in the future and could even take away people’s positive memories. We would not want to see an ‘accelerated Alzheimer’s’ approach."
"We still have limited research on how to treat complex mental health problems, with the focus often on pharmacological solutions. Drugs are a somewhat sledgehammer approach and can have unintended consequences. We know from other psychiatric drugs, for example antipsychotics and antidepressants, that individuals react in hugely varied ways to treatments and are often vulnerable to unpleasant side effects."
"We would need to see much more research into the risks and benefits into this treatment before it becomes a reality."
Notes to editors
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.
For more information or interviews please contact the Mind media team on T: 020 8522 1743 M: 07850 788514 E: email@example.com ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817
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