Traumatic memories can seriously affect the quality of human life, if they become Intrusive, bothersome thoughts. An international team of researchers conducted an experiment in order to find a way to reduce the adverse impact of the past on the human psyche.
The impact of psychological trauma can cause numerous mental and emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. To avoid these negative consequences for the psyche, a group of scientists from five research institutions in the USA, the Netherlands and Spain began searching for a new way of getting rid of negative memories that cause patients suffering.
In the study, researchers decided to test the intervention in a memory based on short-term anesthesia hypnotic propofol. A week before this procedure, 50 healthy volunteers were shown two slide shows with negative content. A week later, immediately before the procedure of injection of propofol, participants again showed footage from the first slideshow. After they regained consciousness upon completion of the procedure, subjects were asked to recount the details of each of the two slide shows. The same thing they were asked to do in 24 hours.
As a result, the researchers found that anesthesia with propofol has helped to break the negative memories: volunteers remembered fewer details of what stories. However, this effect concerns only those stories the participants recalled before administration of the drug. In addition, the effect was observed immediately, but only after 24 hours.
As the author of the study Ana Galarza Vallejo from Madrid Polytechnic University, medical anesthesia can be an effective way to change unpleasant memories. This, in turn, is able to favourably affect the process of treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental diseases associated with undesirable memories.