Navigation Links
Experiencing existential dread? Tylenol may do the trick
Date:4/16/2013

Thinking about death can cause us to feel a sort of existential angst that isn't attributable to a specific source. Now, new research suggests that acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain medication, may help to reduce this existential pain.

The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

According to lead researcher Daniel Randles and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, the new findings suggest that Tylenol may have more profound psychological effects than previously thought:

"Pain extends beyond tissue damage and hurt feelings, and includes the distress and existential angst we feel when we're uncertain or have just experienced something surreal. Regardless of the kind of pain, taking Tylenol seems to inhibit the brain signal that says something is wrong."

Randles and colleagues knew from previous research that when the richness, order, and meaning in life is threatened with thoughts of death, for instance people tend to reassert their basic values as a coping mechanism.

The researchers also knew that both physical and social pain like bumping your head or being ostracized from friends can be alleviated with acetaminophen. Randles and colleagues speculated that the existentialist suffering we face with thoughts of death might involve similar brain processes. If so, they asked, would it be possible to reduce that suffering with a simple pain medicine?

The researchers had participants take either Tylenol brand acetaminophen or a sugar pill placebo in a double-blind study. One group of participants was asked to write about what would happen to their body after they die, and the control group was asked to write about having dental pain, an unpleasant but not existentially distressing thought.

All the participants were then asked to read an arrest report about a prostitute, and to set the amount for bail.

Just as expected, the control group that wrote about dental pain who weren't made to feel an existentialist threat gave relatively low bail amounts, only about $300. They didn't feel the need to assert their values.

On the other hand, the participants who wrote about their own death and were given a sugar pill gave over $500 for bail about 40% more than the dental pain group, in line with previous studies. They responded to the threat on life's meaning and order by affirming their basic values, perhaps as a coping mechanism.

But, the participants in this group who took Tylenol were not nearly as harsh in setting bail. These results suggest that their existential suffering was 'treated' by the headache drug.

A second study confirmed these results using video clips. People who watched a surreal video by director David Lynch and took the sugar pill judged a group of rioters following a hockey game most harshly, while those who watched the video and took Tylenol were more lenient.

The study demonstrates that existentialist dread is not limited to thinking about death, but might generalize to any scenario that is confusing or surprising such as an unsettling movie.

"We're still taken aback that we've found that a drug used primarily to alleviate headaches can also make people numb to the worry of thinking about their deaths, or to the uneasiness of watching a surrealist film," says Randles.

The researchers believe that these studies may have implications for clinical interventions down the road.

"For people who suffer from chronic anxiety, or are overly sensitive to uncertainty, this work may shed some light on what is happening and how their symptoms could be reduced," Randles concludes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. FDA Approves Drug for Older Women Experiencing Painful Sex
2. Atlanta Maid Service EMJ Cleaning Releases Discount Assistance Dates for Homeowners Experiencing Foreclosure Stress
3. Witnessing, Experiencing Traumatic Events May Worsen Heart Disease
4. Tylenol Liver Failure Allegation Claims Now Being Investigated by Resource4thePeople Attorneys
5. Tylenol Liver Failure Allegation Lawsuits Update: Resource4thePeople Reports Hearing to Consolidate Federal Cases Is Scheduled
6. Tylenol Liver Damage Lawyers Are Now Available through Resource4thePeople
7. Tylenol Overdose Can Be Deadly for a Child
8. Migraine triggers tricky to pinpoint
9. AWRA Brings Water Quality and Agricultural Sustainability Discussion to America’s Drought Stricken Heartland
10. St. Patricks Day science: American Chemical Society video on the chemistry of alcohol and hangovers
11. Lung Cancer Asbestos Victims Center Urges US Navy Veterans Stricken With Any Type Of Lung Cancer If They Were Exposed In Asbestos - Possible Significant Compensation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2017)... Viejo, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2017 ... ... animations created exclusively for use in Final Cut Pro X. Editors can pick ... and more. Easily change the highlights, mid levels and shadows using simple color ...
(Date:4/29/2017)... ... April 29, 2017 , ... TransDark is a set of ... video to the next without having to set a single keyframe in Final ... enhance your video production. , TransDark features dynamic transitions that momentarily splits the RGB ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... An April 24th article on Yahoo! Beauty ... pounds with the help of a weight loss surgery. The woman, declaring “I will not ... have been left following her dramatic weight loss. Dr. Feiz & Associates notes that, while ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... , ... Beginning in 2017, Ridgecrest Herbals will be phasing out the homeopathic ... Extra Strength formula. To ensure that the effectiveness of Clear Lungs Extra Strength is ... , Removal of the homeopathic element , Adding their patented ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Ushio America proudly introduces ... an instant energy-saving solution for F32T8 fluorescent lamps on most instant-start and programmed-start ... 50,000 hour rated lamps utilize the existing electronic ballast, saving labor and maintenance ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017   ZappRx, Inc ., ... specialty drug prescribing process, today announced it closed $25 million ... a venture capital firm based in Seattle ... Qiming Venture Partners . The Series B round included participation ... round in 2014, and GV (formerly Google Ventures). ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... By Service (Manufacturing, Research), By Country, (Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, ... to their offering. ... The Latin American pharmaceutical contract manufacturing services market is anticipated ... drug registration cost in Latin American countries and continuous economic ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 Global Surgical Drainage ... are tubes used to remove excess liquid and air. ... pus, urine, bile or lymph. Surgical drains are used ... such as orthopedics surgery, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery ... post-surgery to prevent accumulation of fluid e.g. blood or ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: