Posted: 16 December, 2015
You Can Get Over Your Fear Of Spiders In Just Two Minutes
Could you handle this?
Do spiders freak you out? Do need to leave the room if there’s a huntsman lurking in the corner? Is it impossible to sleep if you know there was a redback in your house at some stage during the day?
If you answered yes, then this new treatment might be for you.
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Clinical Psychology claim they can help you get over your fear of spiders in an instant.
All you have to do is spend two minutes in a room with a spider.
Of course it’s not quite that simple – but that’s the basis of their research.
Dr. Marieke Soeter and Dr Merel Kindt put together a group of 45 participants who were scared of spiders. They then exposed each one to a tarantula for two minutes, and afterwards gave them a dose of either a beta blocker used for high blood pressure and heart conditions or a placebo.
Volunteers who were given the beta blocker (known as propranolol) actually experienced a huge reduction in avoidance behaviour and an increase in approach behaviour. This didn’t just last for a few hours – in some cases these changes lasted for a year.
"Here we show for the first time that an amnesic drug given in conjunction with memory reactivation transformed avoidance behaviour to approach behaviour in people with a real-life spider fear. The new treatment is more like surgery than therapy," says Kindt.
"Currently patients with anxiety disorders and PTSD receive multiple sessions of cognitive behavioural treatment or daily drug intake with a gradual (and often temporary) decline of symptoms," adds Kindt. "The proposed revolutionary intervention involves one single, brief intervention that leads to a sudden, substantial and lasting loss of fear."
Do you think you would try this? Or is the thought of that initial exposure to the tarantula just too much to handle?
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