How A Blood Pressure Pill Could Take The Sting Out Of A Bad Break Up
If you have a habit of getting hung up on your ex, a pill used to treat blood pressure issues might be the answer to getting over it.
A Canadian researcher claims people can move past a bad break up by combining therapy and a beta-blocker.
According to BBC News, Dr Alain Brunet has spent 15 years studying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with much of his research focusing on 'reconsolidation therapy', which can apparently remove the emotional pain from a traumatic memory.
A lot of Brunet's work centres around a pharmaceutical called propranolol.
The drug is a beta-blocker long used to treat hypertension and migraines. but recent research suggests it could have a much wider application.
As part of the 'reconsolidation method', a patient would take propranolol about an hour before a therapy session where they would be asked to write a detailed account of their trauma before reading it aloud.
This apparently creates an opportunity to target the highly emotional portion of that memory.
"Often when you recall memory, if there's something new to learn, this memory will unlock and you can update it, and it will be saved again," Dr Brunet told the BBC.
"We're using this enhanced understanding of how memories are formed and how they are unlocked and updated and saved again - we're essentially using this recent knowledge coming out of neuroscience to treat patients."
Patients won't have their memories erased exactly, but the therapy is designed to help them "stop hurting".
For instance, memories are stored in the brain's hippocampus but the emotional aspect of a memory is saved in the amygdala.
He likened it to filming a movie the old fashioned way where the image and sound are part of two separate channels that come together.
So when a person relives their traumatic memory, they experience both.
It is understood Propranolol targets emotions and helps suppress pain because when a memory is revisited under the influence of the medication it will be "saved" by the brain in a less emotional version.
He claims at least 70 per cent of patients found relief within a few sessions of reconsolidation therapy.
To study the phenomenon further, Dr Brunet and other leading researchers enlisted patients who were suffering from severe cases of heartbreak.
Some involved infidelity and others had been abandoned by their partner.
Dr Brunet described them as patients who "cannot get over" heartbreak but claimed some felt relief after a single session.
"This treatment approximates the normal working of memory, how we gradually forget and turn the page," he said.
His Montreal-based lab is currently looking for 60 people who have experienced infidelity or some other form of deception in a relationship for a new study.