Does the prospect of public speaking make you panic? Do you run for the hills at the mere mention of spiders? Help could be at hand: researchers have come up with a way to ease the crippling symptoms of phobia. The treatment, developed by a Swiss-led research team, could one day help sufferers to face their fear simply by popping a pill before facing a stressful situation. The researchers hope that it may even have permanent effects, by helping phobics deal with the daunting prospect of undergoing therapy in which they come face to face with their fears.
The remedy contains a human hormone called cortisol, which the body produces naturally in times of stress or fear to help subdue the panic response. Previous studies have shown that increased levels of cortisol help us to blank out painful memories and emotions, allowing us to deal more effectively with stressful situations.