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Drugs to Wipe Out Traumatic Memories

Transmittal Letter

This paper evaluates the studies that have been done in use of drugs to wipe out bad memories. Use of drug in public and private places has been increasing, and if measures are not taken, the situation may worsen, it is important that studies be carried out in regard to the current situation. Research into current issu9es opens debate as to what must be done in an attempt to improve usage of drugs to wipe bad memories. The establishment of the actual situation on the ground would help in the elimination, if not reduction of the whole problem. Solution will be desirable for the problem in discussion because it will be expected that drugs will not only lead to deteriorated health through the negative impacts they have on the user, but that they continually erodes people morals and the society gradually, causing permanent damage that will certainly be long-term in effect. Use of drugs would be expected among young, old, male, female rich and poor, in an environment where so many challenges about life are being encountered.

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It has been argued that bad or traumatic memories can be wiped out in a number ways. In this research, we shall seek to find evidence for the fact that drugs have the capability to eliminate bad memor6ies, and how they actually act to do that. Whether many projected theories in the public domain are true or false is not the concern of this research, because we seek to review literature regarding application of drugs to treat bad memories and establish the reality of the matter. Most of the arguments have been revolving around theories that lack evidential facts. Research is being carried out regarding the utilization of drug solution to wipe out bad memories for individuals. There has been an increase in the number of researches done in this field and many scientists are approaching a conclusion that use of drugs to erase bad memories from brain is possible.

This research paper tries to find out how successfully can drugs be used to wipe out bad/traumatic memories by reviewing researches done in the field and past experiences especially in therapies attempting to elude from such complications. It is clear that the society is surrounded with some things that at the end of the day must be evaluated in regard to the ethical, social, economic and political scenario. This paper will discuss the ethics in regard to the use of drugs to wipe out memories. Of concern is whether people should be let to buy these drugs and whether it is ethical in considering that they are fixes brought in to alter the memories.

In this research, we do expect that the area has been explored through previous research. In fact, we do expect that a lot has been done regarding the subject matter. This research will seek to review these studies and establish the truth regarding usage of drugs to fight bad memories. On the public domain, drug addiction is never a new issue, but it has been there for long, with many, including the non-governmental organizations taking initiatives to ensure that the usage of drugs among the public is reduced or managed through such activities as adoption of legal framework that abolishes selling and subsequent usage of certain drugs. In addition, there are certain laws that penalize the culprit. Use of drugs would be expected among young, old, male, female rich and poor, in an environment where so many challenges about life are being encountered. In addition, people engage in use of drug as an alternative to other techniques because of a career of reasons, ranging from the spread of the ideas about their use, as well as ease of access or ease of use.

Review of works

The desire to use drugs in the wiping of memories points out to the fact that there may be problems or difficulties or hardships encountered by individuals as they try to forget memories regarding their past actions. In deed, it may be interesting to study the psychology involved in the forgetting of things that have been done in future. Many may want to free from the memories relating to the things they have done in the past in their lives that they would rather not have done, things that reoccur with remorse, pain or embarrassment in their minds whenever they remember them. If such memories could be erased, this would be a great relieve in lives of many that have been forced to change the lifestyles due their past experiences. The craving of a solution to alter memories has inspired questions and activities that have continuously sort remedy to the issue. Already in the film industry, the concept of wiping out memory is not new. Usage of drugs in the attempt to erase memories point to the fact that people doing so are bound and captives of their own minds and are trying on a daily basis to free themselves.

The memory can hold three types of data since the definition of memory mentions that the memory exist to “recall events and experiences, knowledge and information, and skills” (Ginn). These have been referred as “episodic, semantic, and procedural memory” (Ginn). The memories held in these three types of memory are the basis of our identities. This is where the concept of self is generated, and which arises from the age of 18 months to last for ever in life. This clearly indicates why people, who have done incidences they don’t want to remember, are constantly willing to fight and erode them completely. It points why it would be desirable to achieve memory deletion through manipulation, re-creation and implants. The episodes of “Dellhouse” have envisioned these activities as well as Zelazny (cited in Ginn) and Dick (1968; cited in Ginn). There has been fear to “loose” memories as people grow old (Halpern; cited in Ginn). Such fear may be expressed as resitance to the activities of initiating memory deletion. In fact, about “13% of the population over the age of 65” has symptoms of Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s Association; cited in Ginn).

One interesting question that would require to be answered is whether it can be really possible to wipe out these memories that are no longer desirable. That would open a door to healing of the mind constantly sought by millions willing to be re-born afresh in their minds. Dr Joe Tsien from the Medical College of Georgia in the United States says activity of the brain memory can be influenced by altering the activity of a brain chemical. Previous research and analysis has been carried out in this regard. Earlier studies focused on laboratory tests on animals. Using a chemical, alpha-CaM kinase II Dr Joe experimented on the effects of this chemical on the brain of laboratory mice. Electric shock was used on mice that were placed in a chamber. This shock was given through the feet. When the mice were placed in the chamber and the sound was played, the creatures froze in anticipation of electric shock. Later the chemical alpha-“CaM kinase II” (Costandi) was altered and their memory ability observed. Altering of alpha-CaM kinase II and this has an impact on altering the ability of the animals to remember. It was possible to delete and implant some new ideas in the brain, as well as make him to forget all that. According to a specialist, deletion of the rat memory occurred; leaving some other. Thus, human memory can also be influenced through the same treatment, and thus achieving elimination of undesired memories. Of course, from the earlier discussion, the position that drugs cannot be acceptable in the application for erasure of past memories is an understatement. In fact, that argument can only be acceptable if there were no good things to achieve through use of drugs among the options to treat our bodies. We know health can be restored by use of drugs, and a proposition is that they are not an exception as far as attempts to wipe old memories are concerned. The only thing we can do is to test the proposition and prove it. Again, it is important to consider that the desire to wipe out memory as a result of past events is nothing but a desire to live freer and happier lives. For these individuals, trauma is not desirable, and therefore, what would be desirable is the designing of solutions that would render them live more happily and not end in drug abuse.

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As far as human beings are concerned, there has been attention of usage of drugs to wiping out memories. The research on use of drugs to wipe out bad memories has been close to reality. The impact of deletion has been thought to occur as a result of the activity of the propranolol. Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology and social behavior, argues that this drug dampens the emotional content associated with the trauma and apparently some of the factual content and in this way it’s able to alter memory power. Through this part of review, it can be drawn attention to the fact application of drugs has been implemented in the attempt to wipe out memories. Nevertheless, success is not usually the gauge to things. This applies for the case of drugs. Sometimes they may achieve desired effects but spoil on other areas, which mean that we need to consider t7he possible negative impacts of using drugs to wipe out memories.

Over the years, the number of people seeking to erase unpleasant memories has been on the rise. Many have experienced horrifying traumatizing incidents that have effects of making them unconscious whenever they remember them. The fact is that such a deletion may even save some people who, due to stress, would have reverted to murderers and criminals as a way of reacting to their condition. Professor Loftus’s has found out that many people are willing to use pills so as to do away with tramatic experiences.

Stress hormones help trigger entrenchment of “memories of emotionally significant events” “for example, epinephrine and cortisol, both released by the adrenal glands, act on receptors in the brain to sear the memory in place, quickly and often indelibly” (Lasley). For example, it is possible that the hormone epinephrine released during greasy events will intensify the memory. Researchers on the subject matter focus on the long-term memory since it is the one that is a “driver of behavior” (Lafee). Short-term memory has limited capacity. It is possible to quickly forget the daily happenings so quickly. Those events that are not readily forgetful are those which provoke an emotional response. The adrenal glands release floods of stress hormones during the periods and times of surprise, terror or sadness. The memory is written on the neurological ink as a result of a message conveyed by the adrenalin to the amygdala (also see Labar and LeDoux; cited in Ginn) (“an almond-shaped portion of the brain that processes motion, most notably fear” (Lafee)) that the action is worthy some remembering. The amygdala is affected by emotions “such as fear” because it is linked into a circuit affected by such emotions (Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessell; cited in Ginn). Adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. Neuroscientists point out to the fact that blocking the action of “stress hormones (upon the amygdala and brain)” “the influence of making stronger memories” may be restricted (Lafee). This blocking can be carried out by the use of drugs. Similar molecular mechanisms are shared between the two memories (short-term and long-term) and they all require αCaMKII. Formation of fearful memory causes the increase between the neurons in the amygdale part of the brain, but such communication was found to have decreased in the rats treated as mentioned earlier. In fact, Instead of “simply breaking the link between the memory and a fearful response”, the memory is rather deleted from the mind, that could actually open up to healing (Smith).

There is still debate regarding whether human should continue using pills to forget their pasts and activities, or that they should be made to bear the consequences accompanying those previous methods. This is because they impact on the “chemicals released by the body” and those which impact on the brain (Lemonick; cited in Ginn). Opponents of the use of drugs in the attempts to wipe out memories have pointed a number of things that actually require careful consideration. One of such factors is that because it has been possible to implant “force memories” in people (Bardsley), it can be likewise possible to implant into the minds of those willing to forget of the things they believed in, things that never existed. Some of the proponents’ arguments are that since drugs are applied in an attempt to alter the mind’s ability to memorize, it is possible to omit use of drugs since the power to memorize can be wiped out through other ways other than the drugs. Ethical consideration on the subject matter has focused on the questions such as where should be a line drawn between the memories “can be disrupted” and those which need not be (Megget). Again, this may be seen as affecting the personal identity, bringing more implications in to the legal framework regarding the situation.


Though numerous researches have been done and significant amount of success reported, there may be a long way to go before scientists are able to alter specific memories out of human brains. Though erasing bad memories by use of drugs seems to be a good idea, it has its own critics. Many feel that this could be a risk that threatens to lower people’s memory ability. Memories both good and bad, are believed to make human beings who they. However, it has been proposed that deletion of mind could lead to introduction of problems in the field of learning.

Changing the content of our memories or altering their emotional tonalities, however desirable to alleviate guilty or traumatic experiences, could change reshape people’s personalities. Memories are appropriate reflections of the fragility of human life. If scientists find a drug that can dissociate personal histories from recollections of past histories, this could affect people’s ability to confront responsibilities.

False memories can be implanted in the real world. Justice may never be rendered to those who suffered traumatic experiences (such as sexual assault) in their lives if they are latter on uncovered through creation of memorable situations for the individuals.

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Works Cited

Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. 2010.

Bardsley, Daniel. Wiping out bad memories. The National. 2008.

Costandi Moheb. The power of the memory molecure. Mind Matters. 2008.

Ginn, Sherry. Memory, mind, and mayhem: Neurological tampering and manipulation in Dollhouse. The Journal of the Weldon Studies Association. n.d.

Halpern, Sue. Can’t remember what I forgot: The good news from the front lines of memory research. New York: Harmony Books, 2008.

Kandel Erick, Schwartz James, & Jessell Thomas. Principles of neural science. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

LaFee, Scott Blank for memories: Someday you may be able to take a pill to forget painful recollections. San Diego Union Tribune, Feb. 11, 2004.

LaBar, Keklvin. Beyond fear: Emotional memory mechanisms in the human brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 2007, 173-177.

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LeDoux, Joseph. The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Lasley Elizabeth. Memory research helps tone down what’s best forgotten. 2007.

Megget Katrina. Memory blocking: Roadblock on memory lane. 2010. Chemistry World. 

Philip Dick. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 1968.

Roger Zelazny. The Nine Princes of Amber, 1970.

Smith Kerri. Wipe out a single memory: Drug can clear away one fearful memory while leaving another intact. 2007.

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