Is your over-the-counter pain reliever turning you into a zombie? New research has shown that might just be the case. While you may not have a hankering for brains that you can’t explain, it turns out acetaminophen (the active ingredient in drugs like Tylenol) can turn off more than just your pain — it can dull your emotions and reduce your ability to feel empathy for others.
While it may be available over the counter (OTC), it appears that acetaminophen is actually a mind-altering drug.
If you take the drug regularly, the zombifying effects of acetaminophen can potentially lead to problems with interpersonal relationships, both at work and in your social life. There are many other dangers associated with OTC pain relievers, and this new finding confirms that more natural, less harmful methods of pain relief should be encouraged by the medical community — even if it means less profit for Big Pharma.
The pharmaceutical industry has proven time and time again that they are either too incompetent or unwilling to investigate their products thoroughly — as evidenced by the fact that many drugs (including ones available over the counter) are on the market for decades before adverse effects are ever attributed to them.
Acetaminophen kills empathy
A growing body of research is showing that acetaminophen is actually capable of mind-altering effects. Researchers from Ohio State University recently conducted a study to examine acetaminophen’s effect on the emotional state. The findings were published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in 2016.
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The study featured two experiments. In part one, the team studied 80 college students. Half of the students were given 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen, while the remainder received a placebo. As Natural Health 365 reports further:
Participants were then read a series of stories about people going through pain and asked to rate the pain of those in the stories. The study’s results found that those given acetaminophen consistently gave lower pain ratings for people in the stories compared with those receiving placebos. Hence the suggestion that these students are turning into ‘zombies’ – after taking a common painkiller.
In a second study of 114 students, researchers assessed their responses to unpleasant, loud noises. All of the students received two-to-four second blasts of sound from a white noise machine, between 75 and 105 decibels. They were then asked to rate the noises on a scale of 1 (not unpleasant at all) to 10 (extremely unpleasant).
Half of the students were given the 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen and the rest got a placebo.
According to the results, the acetaminophen group consistently rated the noises as less bothersome than the placebo group. Participants who took the acetaminophen also believed the noise would be less irritating to others.
Across the board, study participants who were given acetaminophen displayed a reduction in their ability to empathize with others. This can spell big trouble at home and in the workplace.
As study leader Baldwin Way commented, “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.”
Whether it’s your spouse or your coworkers, empathy is essential. But acetaminophen’s deleterious effects on emotional state aren’t the only thing to be concerned about.
Acetaminophen and other OTC pain relievers have been linked to a host of health concerns — liver damage and increased risk of heart attack, to name a few.
Combined with the negative effects on brain function and emotional state, and it’s hard to imagine how these drugs got approved in the first place — never mind for OTC sale.
Fortunately, there are great alternatives out there. Acupuncture, for example, has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years — and science continues to confirm its immense benefits for pain relief.
Learn more about harmful medicine at DangerousMedicine.com.
Sources for this article include:
Author: Vicki Batts