Paracetamol, known as acetaminophen in the United States, is a much more powerful pain reliever than originally thought. Researchers found that it not only dulls the physical pain after taking the over-the-counter medicine, but it also dulls the part of your pain that controls your empathy for others. Apparently, the drug works by dulling the pain receptors in your brain. However, it also dulls your reaction to the pain of those around you, which controls your empathy for others.
The research study found that there’s a lot that we don’t know about acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. They want to do more research, including a separate study comparing the results to a study on Ibuprofen (Advil).
The Daily Mail reported that acetaminophen is an effective pain reliever with few side effects and is safely taken by people of all ages. Not only does it reduce pain, but it reduces your empathy for others, the Daily Mail stated.
“Acetaminophen can reduce empathy as well as serve as a painkiller. It is concerning. Empathy is important. If you are having an argument with your spouse and you just took acetaminophen, this research suggests you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse’s feelings.”
Two studies produced the same result, proving that Tylenol affects your empathy towards others. The first experiment enlisted 80 college-age students. They were given a small cup to drink and were told to read a few short stories about people in pain. The pain was different in each story, both physical and emotional pain.
The researchers added acetaminophen to half of the participants’ liquid drinks. Those who drank acetaminophen-spiked drinks were less sympathetic to the stories expressing other people’s pain than those who didn’t have any medicine in their drink.
The second experiment enlisted 114 participants who found that those who took paracetamol were not bothered by sudden loud noises. They seemed less irritated by the loud sounds and showed some difficulty in making difficult decisions.
“Acetaminophen reduced the pain they felt, but it also reduced their empathy for others who were experiencing the same noise blasts. These findings suggest other people’s pain doesn’t seem as big a deal to you when you’ve taken acetaminophen.”
Surprisingly, Tylenol’s effects revealed another surprising side effect. The research found that the pain reliever made everyday decisions much more challenging. It looks like the reason is simple: Most people use their emotions to make decisions, from buying a house to a new pair of jeans. It’s only natural that if something affects your emotional well-being and how you relate to others, it would affect your ability to make clear, sound choices.
“People might say it ‘hurt’ to sell their home, that they were ‘crushed’ when they decided to withdraw money from their retirement investment portfolio earlier than they’d planned, and that they were ‘pained’ when they decided to resign from a job. We propose that the pain of decision-making is not a mere metaphor. If so, numbing them to physical pain should also numb them to the psychological pain involved in some sorts of decision-making. Making decisions can be painful but a physical painkiller can take the pain away.”
Newsweek explained that the researchers are conducting a series of studies to test if ibuprofen has the same type of effect on your emotions as acetaminophen. Voice your opinion about the acetaminophen study in the comments section below, and come back later for more health studies, updates, and trending news.
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