Is This Common Painkiller Blocking Your Emotions?

April 15, 2015
by Annalise Mantz for Thrive Market
Is This Common Painkiller Blocking Your Emotions?

Popping over-the-counter pain medication is supposed to dull headaches and muscle pain—but it turns out it may be doing the same thing to your emotions.

A new study published in Psychological Science on Friday found that acetaminophen dampens every human feeling, from joy to anxiety to boredom.

Most people probably know acetaminophen as the main ingredient in Tylenol, which has been on the market in for nearly 70 years. With more than 35 percent of American adults taking non-prescription painkillers, that's a lot of lost emotion.

Researchers showed participants photos designed to prompt a response, including images of starving children and images of toddlers playing with cats. Across the board, the participants taking acetaminophen reacted less strongly to both negative and positive stimuli than the group taking a placebo did.

“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” lead author Geoffrey Durso said in a statement.

The study's authors said they don't know whether other pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, have the same effects. Why? Because no one actually knows how acetaminophen stops pain.

There are two main categories of pain relievers: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen. Aspirin and ibuprofen are NSAIDs, and treat inflammation as well as pain. This makes them well suited to treating painful conditions related to inflammation, like arthritis. But scientists aren't exactly sure how acetaminophen blocks pain.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends taking no more than 3,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day to stay within the safe limit, according to CBS. But if you're attached to your emotions, you might want to skip it altogether.

Photo credit: Steve Smith via Flickr

Print Article

This article is related to: Emotional health, Research, Medicine, Drugs, Side effects

Share This Article

Alzheimer's May Be Connected to an Immune System Fail

3 thoughts on “Is This Common Painkiller Blocking Your Emotions?”

  • Evgeny

    http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsmovie/asstd_movie/Preston.JPG

    Reply
  • Expendable Henchman
    Expendable Henchman April 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Ehh,

    The logic of this statement doesn't follow:

    The study's authors said they don't know whether other pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, have the same effects. Why? Because no one actually knows how acetaminophen stops pain.




    They don't know if asprin will dampen emotions because they don't know how acetaminophen stops pain?


    Just ponder that for a moment...


    They ran a study to see if a drug A supresses emotion, and it does. Because they don't know why drug A supresses pain, they can't run the same study on drug B or C. What's stopping them from running exactly the same tests on asprin and ibuprofen? Absolutely nothing.

    Reply
    • hsmom3

      YOUR logic is faulty. Yes, they could run another study, but what they are saying is that they can't LOGICALLY conclude the effect of acetaminophen is the same as the other pain relievers because if they knew that all three worked in the same way, then they could make a logical conclusion (without additional studies) that since they worked in the same way, that they would have the same effects. Since they don't know exactly HOW acetaminophen stops pain, they can't say that aspirin works the same way and therefore they can't conclude from this information that the two would have the same effect on emotions.


      Of course they could run the same tests....but that's not making a logical conclusion about aspirin or ibuprofen based on the way that acetaminophen affects emotions. That's running new tests and determining new results.

      Reply
Leave a Reply