I’ve had readers from Great Britain criticize MIND and perhaps there are reasons for this, but I again and again am struck with how nice it would be to have an organization that is seemingly as well organized as MIND to counteract some of NAMI’s damage.
Here again from Medical News Today MIND’s chief exectutive Paul Farmer speaks to the latest media craze of using beta-blockers (most popularly Propranolol) to block painful memories—and heck, I understand the desire to forget trauma. I’m no stranger to trauma, but as he points out it’s a dangerous and slippery slope.
New research published today in Nature Neuroscience suggests that beta blockers could be the answer to weakening or erasing painful or emotional memories for patients who experience phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Commenting on these new findings, Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
“This is fascinating research that could transform the treatment for phobias and post traumatic stress disorder. Around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia and about 3.5% of the population will be affected by post traumatic stress disorder at some point yet our understanding of how to treat these conditions is still limited. While we welcome any advancement in this field we should also exercise caution before heralding this as a miracle cure.”
“Eradicating emotional responses is clearly an area we would need to be very careful about. It could affect people’s ability to respond to dangerous situations in the future and could even take away people’s positive memories. We would not want to see an ‘accelerated Alzheimer’s’ approach.”
“We still have limited research on how to treat complex mental health problems, with the focus often on pharmacological solutions. Drugs are a somewhat sledgehammer approach and can have unintended consequences. We know from other psychiatric drugs, for example antipsychotics and antidepressants, that individuals react in hugely varied ways to treatments and are often vulnerable to unpleasant side effects.“(emphasis mine)
That last statement is perhaps a bit of an understatement, but overall I think the guy has our backs and is operating from a diplomatic political position and we need those sorts of people working with us too.