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The therapy pill: Forget your phobia in fast forward

作者:皇甫廓椐    发布时间:2019-02-26 06:07:07    

By Jessica Hamzelou Is a pill to banish phobias too good to be true? (Image: Jun Ahn/Barcroft Media) Talking cures for phobias or addictions take ages to detrain your brain. What if a memory-boosting drug let you do it in a day? IT’S happening again. My heart starts pounding and my pulse races. I can feel my face flush and my palms start to sweat. It is all I can do to prevent myself from breaking into a full-blown panic attack. And yet I’m not in any real danger. I’m just at the top of an escalator, making my way down to a London Underground rail platform, along with hundreds of other Londoners who don’t seem fazed in the slightest – but the sight of the drop below me is the stuff of my nightmares. This scenario will sound familiar to the many other people with phobias. All it takes is a worrying thought or glimpse – whether of a steep drop or a spider’s web – for the mind and body to race into panicked overdrive. These fears are difficult to conquer, largely because the best way of getting over a phobia is to expose yourself to your fear many times over. But there may be a short cut. Drugs that work to boost learning may help someone with a phobia to “detrain their brain”, losing the fearful associations that fuel their panic. This approach is also showing promise for a host of other problems – from chemical and gambling addictions to obsessive nail-biting. In a bid to find out if it really works,

 

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