Nitrous oxide could reduce bad memories of a traumatic event

Posted on March 7, 2016

Photo: flickr

Researchers, led by Dr. Ravi Das of University College London in the UK, wanted to see if nitrous oxide would have any impact on the occurrence of intrusions following a trauma. The study involved 50 healthy adult volunteers and was overseen by both a trained clinical psychologist and a medical doctor.

They invited participants to watch two graphic scenes from the 2002 movie, "Irreversible," once described as "so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable."

Inhaling nitrous oxide after watching the clips was linked to a much faster decline in the incidence of distressing memories. The day after viewing, the number of intrusions fell by 50%, and intrusions declined exponentially over the following week. In contrast, the people who breathed normal air experienced a slower, more gradual and linear decline. A significant drop did not occur until day four.

Category(s):Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from University College London

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