In Brief: Fighting fear with a stress hormone
Fighting fear with a stress hormone
Swiss researchers have found that artificially raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is normally released by the adrenal glands in frightening situations, can paradoxically relieve performance anxiety and phobias.
In one experiment, 20 people with severe performance anxiety (social phobia) were divided into two groups that took a dose of either cortisone (which the body transforms into cortisol) or a placebo. An hour later they were surprised with a request to give a speech and do mental arithmetic before an audience and while being filmed.