Could "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" Become Reality?

Crystal Meth
Crystal Meth

According to the Calgary Herald, a University of Calgary researcher is studying the effects of crystal meth on memory. The goal of the research is to develop a new treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The research study on the effect of crystal meth on memory was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The study showed that crystal meth greatly improved the memory of pond snails. The study has given researchers hope that they can develop ways of altering memory with the drug. Of course, improved memory could be extremely beneficial for some illnesses and aging, I don't know anyone with PTSD who wants a better memory.

The University of Calgary professor, Kenneth Lukowiak, says that crystal meth makes the genes responsible for memory easier to alter. The hope is that a non-addictive drug with some properties of crystal meth could be developed to alter memory. This could possibly lead to an application of this research to remove the memory of the traumatic event or help the person integrate the damaging memory into a less emotionally charged form. This reminds me of the movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I know I can't be the only person with PTSD who was just a little jealous of the characters in that movie.

Could it become a reality? The research concludes that meth allowed the genes responsible for long-term memory to be turned on or off. To me, a finding like this one generates more questions than answers. For example, does crystal meth have any effect on a person's memory? I do not know anyone on crystal meth, but I have never heard that people on crystal meth have a superior memory. Have you?

I would think that there was some noticeable effect on memory if this research finding is substantial and applicable to humans. Of course, there could be factors that are unclear since I am neither an expert in biology or crystal meth. Another question is whether a crystal meth-like drug could treat PTSD by altering the memory or if it could only prevent PTSD by not allowing the trauma to enter into long-term memory, much like Tetris has been used. It will be interesting to see if this research study eventually leads to a new PTSD treatment.

What do you think?

Would you erase part of your memory if you could?

See results without voting

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Comments 11 comments

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

Greta Hub! PTSD is a very tough topic my friend and I applaud you for presenting it here.

My question would have to be, if the developing drugs can remove the memory from our PTSD minds, will it in fact be able to remove the triggers that accompany those memories. For me, Smell will trigger my memory and in some cases an abrubt sound and even entering a room that has been revised from when i first saw it can triger the disorder. Watching movies like Jar Head, are a really bad idea for me as well. So, if I had access to a medication that allowed me to remain who I am in personality and could also derail my PTSD by locking it behind some illusional barrier within my mind,...I am on board. However, if I found myself in a triggered situation and unable to understand my anxiety, possibly this would bring with it an even greater collabrotive disorder.

A well done hub and quite thought provoking. I will look to your hubs in the future for updated information on the topic, should you choose to persue it.

Thank you Sheila! Up and awesome! And a happy 4TH of July!


Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 6 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thank you, K9keystrokes. You bring up some interesting points. As someone with PTSD, I totally see how tempting the removal of a memory is. On the other hand, what would be the effects? I tend to think that for better or worse, things that have happened to me made me who I am. So, what if one of those things is removed? I wonder how that would affect a person's personality. And the triggers, if not dealt with, could end up being traumatic reflexes without a known cause..maybe. I'm really not sure how triggers are tied to the memory. Actually, I'm not sure anyone completely understands that. I have one trigger known as a "body memory." If someone grabs my wrist, I am right back in a traumatic memory. I wonder how something like that would be remedied. I think it will be very interesting to see what if anything becomes of this line of research.


ultracutebot profile image

ultracutebot 6 years ago from cybertron

Loved this hub! Fascinating topic & well written :)


lambservant profile image

lambservant 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

This was very interesting. I have PTSD and would do just about anything to get rid of the memories of what happened. But, how can they prevent important memories from being lost? I wouldn't take the drug. There are ways to heal from PTSD without a drug to take it all the way. And you know, as painful as it is to go through the healing process of PTSD (therapy and the like), I think in the end, it is the most beneficial way to do it. When we suffer, we grow and learn and are better able to help others. I am not saying that is fun or even good to suffer, but suffering in life is inevitable. Some of us had trauma. some of us have had loss, some of us have experienced other devastating things, and all those things cause suffering. Suffering sucks, but now that I am in a good place in my healing process, I can see that I learned and grew so much threw my suffering. I learned to forgive, I leared to cope better, I became closer to God, and I have had the blessing of helping ohter. Pill would be nice, but sounds to dangerous. Good hub and quite fascinating.


Teaci B profile image

Teaci B 2 years ago

I have Cronic P.T.S.D & I'm a Meth addict. What we DON'T need is another pill!! What we do need is more people with heart to take the time to listen, incourage, & help find coping tools. I have taken lots of different psyco meds. Every single one had bad effects. Numorus trips to the E.R. One of these meds made me pee the bed & I was bleeding rectally. They did nothing but add to my life of suffering. I know now that tlc I recieved from The Cullum House was a rare opportunity. I had to take a break from this inhumane world & focus on me. These caring people helped by keeping me focused on me, listening to me tell my experiences. I discovered my strengths & weaknesses. Then I was given tools so I can coup. While I was there I watched in horrer as they gave most patience bi-weekly shots. The memory of that is tramatic. Please PLEASE you're only making it worse!! They want us to take a pill because they would have to step outside of themselves into someone elses pain. Very few are willing to do that & the burden is huge for those who do. The manager of that house killed himself after a 4 hr stand off . Why? THEY SHOULD STUDY THAT!! What WE ALL need is the love of Jesus Christ! He loves us even with all our inperfections & misguilded ways. We think we are helping but we cant only his death on the cross can, God Bless The Scientict for big efforts in trying to find ways to help eliviate our pain.


Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 2 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

I developed PTSD several years ago. I tried a few therapies. The most beneficial one I found is DBT therapy. It was designed for borderline personality disorder, but they've found it works well for a variety of conditions including PTSD. My condition has improved gradually. When my therapist asked me what I attribute as the cause of my improvement, I told her it was my increased focus on my personal relationship with God. I do devotions almost every day and watch some preachers on television like Joyce Meyer and Joseph Prince. Of course, what's most important is knowing that I'm not in this alone and that my life does not have to be defined by the trauma. I believe God helps us through this if we let Him.


TeaciB 2 years ago

You are absolutely right!! God created us & the only one with the repair manual. Seek God first in all things. thank you


YaThink 2 years ago

Hey Sheila,

TBI got me years ago. What I discovered during recovery that devestated my life were memories hidden due to the injury. Only a portion of my brain was affected. Over time, through healing, those memories have resurfaced creating more confusion than I needed to deal with at one time. Our memories are connected by the five senses for each instance in our lives along with our resolute perspective for each instance. When more than one or two of those memories are gone or hidden you are left confused and unable to make the same instataneous decisions as you normaly would have before the injury. I found myself staring blankly when confronted with situations that included distant past events because I didn't have full contact with complete memory and resolution of those past memories.

I'm sure this sounds a little confusing if you have never forgot anything. But, think of it as the time when you knew that answer to the question but you just couldn't reach it. My reach to remember ended with so much confusion and pain sometimes my eyes would water. I would have to just stop whatever it was I was trying to remember and quickly move to something else. Sometimes the pain would go away and sometimes it wouldn't. Funny, but a lot of times I wouldn't even remember what it was I was trying to remember. Having memory problems was a constant struggle. I can say I am much better now but re-hashing the recovered memories for resolution has taken a toll on the timing in my life.

I knew people back in the day who used meth all the time and I can tell you from what I saw I don't believe it will help memories. If anything it would do a great job of making you forget. Perhaps their controlled study and limited amount used brought about different results, I don't know. What I do know is that taking away one memory would or could have an effect on a hundred or even a thousand other memories. Now if they were able to make a serum to stimulate memories and make them shine more clear this would be useful for people with problems like alzheimers or other problems that degenerate the memory.

Certainly removing memories would be everybodys dream if we were sure we no longer needed them. But what people have to remember are the other conections those memories have and how not having them would change how we look at past, present and future events. Is that what someone would want ?

I have lived with all the terrible memories I never wanted in my life but each one of those bad memories came with lessons written down on memory by five senses plus resolution that have literally saved my life a time or two. SO I have learned through lifes misfortunes there is reward. You find the little bits of good in a bad thing, like a recognition or a smell or the odd feeling in that situation and put it in the "good to know" file.

Triggers are interesting. They have to be weighed for their value. Kinda like that jar of assorted nails and screws. Some you should keep cause they are bright and shiny and some need to be thrown away cause they are rusted. But you have to be carefull you don't throw away that one-sized rusty screw that can only replace the one in your head :)

Your grab on the wrist sounds like it is still shiny new, watering it down or soaking it in lemon juice could help it rust up a bit, ie..repeatedly expose yourself to the elements that surround that memory. In a safe manner and setting.

If you havn't tried the "meditation" or "mindfullness" things yet you should give it a whirl. It is what helped mitigate my pains allowing the release of memories, or repair of damage.

Good article for debate, do you have the source of your information? I would like to read the study to find out exactly the amounts and timelines of the tests and results of course.

I don't suggest anyone use themselves for a trial experiment though, I remember one person that talked a hundred miles an hour and looked like he was lost at the same time. Freaky.

If there is one thing to hold onto in this world it is the reoccurring miracles of faith, hope and belief. Even atheists carry these.

Thank You Sheila : )


Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 2 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

I have just started working on mindfulness exercises. I always used my art to help cope, but there is this type of repetitive pattern doodling called Zentangle. I used it the first time on an art project I was doing for this year's Mystery Build contest. Since then, I have done some of it in my sketchbook just for me and I find it very helpful. I have been struggling a lot lately.. more flashbacks, more depression, more urges to cut. And I know I am overwhelmed. I'm having a hard time focusing on anything for long, but I have done well with taking breaks to Zentangle and calm down.

I can look up the articles that I read before writing this hub. If I can find the links, I'll post them in a comment so that you'll be notified.

Your point about how would removing trauma memories would affect our perceptions of the past, present, and future.. as well as our perceptions of ourselves would be the scary unknown that I would wonder about.

And here's an interesting loop to this whole thing. I have indeed blocked part of the attack that caused my PTSD. There is a significant chunk of time missing, judging by what I remember before and after the gap in my memory. Lately, my therapist has suggested that I go through EMDR trauma therapy in the near future. I'm scared to death of it, because I don't want to remember what I've blocked out. I feel like maybe I blocked it out for a reason.. That's kind of where I'm at now. Do I ignore the fact that there are these things that happened to me that I can't remember and keep moving forward dealing with what I know, or do I go through trauma therapy with the risk of revisiting and recovering these blocked memories?

Over the years, I have made progress. I am able to go outside the house without thinking I will be attacked again. I made the most progress with DBT therapy and renewed focus on my faith with daily devotions and prayer. The progress has been slow. Some days, I can go to the store with a friend or family member and do fairly well. Other times, I am overwhelmed with anxiety and can't stop crying. But, I try to think positively that even though it has taken years, I have come a long way from when I was terrified to even take a step outside my front door in order to reach the mailbox.

Thank you for your thought-provoking comment.


Ya Think 2 years ago

Sheila, I am sorry you went through such a terrible ordeal and I am sure you have been told this, but, you lived through it, terrifying as it was you are still with us. The remnants of fear are only those emotions you hold onto. Is it possible this could occur again in your life? Statistics say no but it is possible. Understanding that you have survived and probabilities are that it is not likely to happen again should be some comfort to you. Another way of viewing what happened to you is allowing yourself to revisit the fear you felt as a means to understand that part in your brain and how you can become familiar with it and accept it as part of who you are.

I hate to hear that you damage yourself because of what you experienced. It is hard enough getting through life without causing ourselves extra pain. I never felt that pain was a relief for anything I ever experienced, nor a distraction because I always understood that I cannot erase the memories and if I did how would I react if it were to happen again. Would I be less able to handle the situation?

I watched a class of ladies, who had been through attacks, learning self-defense and found it interesting that the instructor was pushing the mentality that you have to fight through the fear. I understand the difficulty in this because it leads to hopelessness yet, in understanding that you have survived, your chances of reacting in a manner that will keep you from allowing yourself in the same situation or getting hurt have multiplied exponentially. You have been there and done that! Accept it for what it is, a lesson learned and use that to promote yourself into a better place. Keep a healthy body through diet to feed a healthy mind and exercise both to maintain a healthy life.

By maintaining the memories of what happened at an almost subconscious level they remain a sensory "of sense" of the situation you were in and will warn you of any events that lead up to the situation you may run into again. This is the "positive" of the aftermath of the ordeal. The lesson learned. Revisiting the ordeal piece by piece and consciously discovering techniques to mitigate each level of inducted fear will make you more ready and stronger when/if presented with the same ordeal or event or anything similar. Your brain remembers all five senses you endured during your ordeal, each one can be visited and mitigated to make you stronger instead of more fearful. Fight through it and use it. You have a life to live!

Sorry to be preaching, my whole life has been a fight and what I have told you here were things I learned on my own without help. The old adage about when life throws you lemons, is appropriate. I just peeled 'em and added sugar :)

Hope this finds you well, remember that everything inside our body is living and to remain strong we must nourish and exercise that body to be ready for the next lemon. They don't stop coming, only subside momentarily.

Fear is only an emotion that you allow to control you, turn the tables and learn to control it. I think if you use this view while expanding you're mitigating techniques you will be able to overcome any obstacle in your path. Fill your tool box and don't forget the sugar :) I have faith in you. Have faith in yourself, know that you will be here tomorrow and next year and accept the life your body sustains as yours, body and soul. I can tell by your writing you promote giving over taking, give to yourself what makes you stronger, faith in God, good people, good food, exercise, music.

This earth we live on is filled with the beauty of positive energy, life, it is only the evil in people that interrupts that positive energy in your world, my world, our world. They are the Takers of Life, Be a Giver!

Thank for letting me rant :)


Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 2 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

I appreciate your insightful and encouraging comment. Thank you. I will return to this when I need it again. One more tool in the toolbox..

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