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For decades Tylenol has been used as a pain-killer, but new research reveals it has psychiatric side effects including dulled emotional responses to both positive and negative stimuli.
The public is beginning to understand that many over-the-counter painkillers do more than just kill pain, but sometimes kill those taking them.
For instance, A 2013 review of 754 clinical trials published in Lancet found that NSAID use was associated with roughly double the heart failure risk. Ibuprofen, in particular, has been estimated to cause thousands to die of cardiovascular events each year, and according to the lead researcher of the Lancet review, equally as dangerous for long-term users as the drug Vioxx which was estimated to cause 30,000 excess heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths between 1999-2003 alone.
Popular over-the-counter painkillers include acetaminophen (Tylenol) , ibuprofen, napoxen (Alleve) and aspirin, and many pop them like candy to reduce pain and inflammation without ever looking to identify and resolve the root causes of their symptoms.
Now, a new study finds that not only does the Tylenol affect the body, but it also dulls the emotional responses of users as well.
The groundbreaking new study published in the journal Psychology Science titled, "Over-the-Counter Relief From Pains and Pleasures Alike: Acetaminophen Blunts Evaluation Sensitivity to Both Negative and Positive Stimuli"", found that:
"Participants who took acetaminophen evaluated unpleasant stimuli less negatively and pleasant stimuli less positively, compared with participants who took a placebo."
In the study, participants were randomly assigned to take either an acute dose of 1,000 mg of acetaminophen or a placebo, both in a liquid form. As a double-blind study, neither the experimenters nor the participants were aware of which they received. After a 60-minute waiting period to allow the Tylenol to enter their brain, participants were shown pictures depicting positive and negative events to ascertain the intensity of their responses.
The researchers discussed the implications of their findings:
"Across two studies, we demonstrated that acetaminophen attenuates individuals' evaluations and emotional reactions to negative and positive stimuli alike. These results build on recent psychological research illustrating that acetaminophen can blunt the intensity with which individuals experience negative events that originate from physical, social, or cognitive sources (DeWall et al., 2015; DeWall et al., 2010; Randles et al., 2013). Further, these findings expand on the research to date to show that acetaminophen blunts positive evaluations in like fashion."