Paracetamol is one of the most recognized names in medicine. Many people count on it to prevent them from feeling pain. However, recent studies, particularly the one conducted by researchers from Ohio State University, discovered that paracetamol does not only kill pain, but also emotional response, including pleasure.
Paracetamol Causes Emotional Numbness
Paracetamol is a drug for pain relief, but the study mentioned above suggested that it can reduce feelings brought about by pleasure. The previously unknown side-effect means that over-the-counter painkillers are leaving users not only pain-free, but also emotionally numb. The study was performed on a number of 82 volunteers who consumed 1000mg of paracetamol. Another group took a placebo in place of the drug. It was discovered that the subjects who took paracetamol showed weaker response when they were presented with both upsetting and pleasant photos.
After waiting 60 minutes for the drug to take effect, they were asked to rate 40 photographs on whether the image made them feel positive or negative. Those who took paracetamol rated the photographs to be less extreme than those who consumed placebo only. So whether the photos were positive or negative, the participants who took paracetamol had less reaction than those who didn’t take the drug.
The researchers believe that paracetamol may tap into the sensitivity that makes some people react differently to both positive and negative life events. While there is still not enough study concerning the effects of other painkillers, including aspirin and ibuprofen, there is a huge chance that they also have the same effect on people’s emotion. Paracetamol may provide benefits to consumers, but daily dose of the pain reliever can cause emotional dullness, not to mention liver failure due to overdose.
For the lead author of the study, this discovery can have its advantage and disadvantage. With paracetamol having an effect on emotions, it can also be used as an emotion reliever. In this case, it could become a potent drug to treat anxiety and depression. However, psychological pain is much more difficult to understand than physical pain. When taken excessively, paracetamol can reduce the user’s ability to feel real and positive emotions. Of course, this is quite alarming, especially with the fact that many of the people who consume paracetamol daily are not aware of how influential and controlling the drug is toward their emotions.