Scientists reckon they’ve finally cracked how to cure people of their fear of spiders in just two minutes – although the solution may be a tad too extreme for some arachnophobes.
Two experts believe they can help people to get over their intense fear of the eight-legged monstrosities for good, although the solution actually sounds like it would traumatise people rather than fix the problem.
All you have to do, according to researchers at the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, is be trapped in the same room as a spider.
It sounds a bit like the kind of horrific punishment you might see in Saw but the scientists believe the 120 seconds of exposure, combined with a single dose of pharmacological treatment, will actually combat the fear.
As reported by the Washington Post, researchers Marieke Soeter and Merel Kindt discovered the phenomenon by locking 45 people in a room with a tarantula.
While that does sound fucking terrifying, the researchers also gave them a beta blocker known as propranolol or a placebo to help them deal with the stress.
Some saw immediate improvements, while others who took the drug found that after a year their fear of spiders had significantly reduced.
Speaking to the Post, Kindt said:
Here we show for the first time that an amnesic drug given in conjunction with memory reactivation transformed avoidance behaviour to approach behaviour in people with a real-life spider fear. The new treatment is more like surgery than therapy.
[The participants] couldn’t believe it. They went on and on. One even asked if they could have it in their hand. As a therapist, I almost cannot believe it!Advertisement
By this logic, all the contestants on I’m A Celebrity… should come out of the jungle absolutely loving creepy crawlies.