Tylenol's Emotional Side Effect Is a Scary One

A lot of us—myself included—grew up believing Tylenol was one of the safest over-the-counter drugs we could take to cure the common headache or pain. But it seems every day we're learning some new, unfortunate fact about acetaminophen and the latest is one of the most startling because it actually affects our emotional health. A new study found that the painkiller may actually be dulling our emotions and making us feel less.


In addition to melting away our aches and pains, researchers have reportedly found that acetaminophen may affect the way we process emotions, according to a report published by Psychological Science.

A group of people were divided into two groups. One group was given Tylenol, while the other was given a placebo. They were then presented with 40 images that usually evoke positive or negative feelings from most people. For example, when we see a photo of a child playing with a cute kitten, we often feel some sense of pleasure. Conversely, when we are shown a picture of malnourished children, it creates feelings of sadness within us.

Well, it seems that the random group of folks who took Tylenol felt less when they were presented with these images. If we think about it, it makes sense, doesn't it? A drug doesn't have a brain of its own. It doesn't automatically hit the one spot we need it to target without affecting the rest of our bodies, right? It's just that we seldom consider the emotional affect of an ubiquitous painkiller like Tylenol.

More from The Stir: Tylenol Dosage Should Be Reduced Says FDA

Given the fact that one in five people in the U.S. take Tylenol each week and many people take it every day, this is an incredibly important study to keep in mind. We all obviously want to live free from physical pain, but not at the expense of our emotional health.

Do you use Tylenol on a regular basis? Will this study affect your usage?


Image via Debs/Flickr


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