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Science can now wipe away bad memories...


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Fox here, how's it?

I was dinking around on the internet the other day and came across something interesting;

A pill that can erase bad memories.


So just like many of you my first thought was GREAT! no more bad memories! But then i got to thinking about it; yes, bad memories are horrible and for a lot of peoplel they are the basis of the mental disorders we suffer. But, they are memories nontheless, i feel like it would leave a huge gap of life. I think i would feel like i didn't know who i was or where i came from.

Also, i believe there are lessons in everything we go through life, the good and the ugly. What would we be missing out on?

I know personally that all the traumatic events in my life has humbled me and made it in some occassions easier for me to connect with people.

What's your take?

Would you take the pill?


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Or you could just have ECT ... sorry, morbid humour. :)

Fox, I wouldn't take this "science" too seriously. They're only talking about propanalol which is a pretty harmless drug used for lots of stuff besides reducing blood pressure. It is good for anxiety and panic because it slows heart palpitations and reduces other physical symptoms of anxiety such as sweating palms, so you feel calmer, plus it's non-addictive. It makes sense that it would reduce the "fear response" they mention.

But it is a totally implausible leap from there, to suggest it might actually erase bad memories or, in fact, do anything to the memories at all, other than dampen a "fear response" because it calms anxiety in general. In fact all they proved was that propanolol reduces the physical symptoms of anxiety in people who have been shown pictures while getting mild shocks.

Besides, I'll bet PTSD sufferers would be offended at having their experiences paralleled to getting a mild shock when you see a picture of a spider.

Sorry to pour scorn on this "study", Fox, nothing personal. It is still an interesting question you raise, whether you would choose to get your memories wiped, if you could.

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Guest ASchwartz


I agree with Luna and IrmaJean. In addition, the notion of wiping out the memories of the trauma that caused PTSD is still in the experimental stage. Its far too soon to look at it as an approved method. Watch out for many of the things posted on the Internet as "science."


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For more on this topic you might want to look at the following resources on the main site:

Memory Reconsolidation article by me


Podcast interview with Bruce Ecker, MA on reconsolidation and "coherence therapy".


The idea is not that the memories are wiped away. Instead, the emotional component of the memory is reduced in intensity so that something that used to push you into a panic would now be more tolerable and much less provoking.


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