Is Tylenol killing your soul? Studies confirm pain-killer reduces empathy

If you’ve been feeling  apathetic lately, it might not just be you — it might be your pain medication. Past research has shown that taking over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol can dull your ability to feel empathy for others’ pain. Now, a stunning second study confirms that common drugs like Tylenol are indeed altering your brain and killing your ability to feel empathy for others. The researchers even dub acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol) as a “social analgesic.”

Acetaminophen has been on the market for decades and is an OTC drug. You don’t need a prescription for it, you don’t need to consult a doctor; you can buy it any time you want. And we are just now learning about what effects the drug actually has on the brain.

Scientists still don’t know how acetaminophen works to reduce pain. If they don’t even understand how the drug works, they cannot honestly claim to understand the drug’s full scope of side effects. This is how little we know about one of the most commonly used drugs in the country (and probably, the world). And even so, it’s readily available for purchase at every pharmacy, gas station and corner store. That’s Big Pharma’s America for you.

Scientists confirm acetaminophen kills empathy

As Green Med Info reports, a number of studies have highlighted the hazards of OTC pain killers in recent years. In 2016, a team of researchers from Ohio State University ran a battery of tests to assess the effects acetaminophen has on the emotional state. The two-part study featured over 200 college student participants — and what the team found was astonishing.

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Across the board, people who’d been given acetaminophen displayed a significant reduction in their ability to empathize with others’ pain — so much so that some have even suggested the drug turns people into “zombies.”

Now, a second study from Ohio State has confirmed these unintended side effects. This time, the researchers looked at acetaminophen’s effect on peoples’ ability to feel positive empathy. As the team notes, it’s believed that acetaminophen works by reducing activity in areas of the brain thought to play a role in emotional awareness and motivation.

The researchers report:

We tested this hypothesis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment. Specifically, we administered 1,000 mg acetaminophen or a placebo and measured effects on different measures of positive empathy while participants read scenarios about the uplifting experiences of other people. Results showed that acetaminophen reduced personal pleasure and other-directed empathic feelings in response to these scenarios.

In other words, the Ohio State researchers have found that acetaminophen dulls your ability to feel empathy on both ends of the spectrum. It disrupts your ability to feel others’ pain — as well as your ability to share in their joy. The scientists say that excessive acetaminophen consumption could very well carry substantial societal impacts.

Killing more than pain

Sayer Ji, of Green Med Info, posits that any drug designed to blunt pain at a symptomatic level, rather than addressing the cause of the pain, stands to cause problems with compassion and consideration. Ji contends that psychiatric medications pose a similar threat to emotional health.

Putting a “bandaid” on the problem by taking a drug to change your brain’s perception of pain doesn’t actually make the problem go away. Essentially, these drugs just “turn off” certain areas of the brain — which doesn’t sound like much of a cure.

In addition to killing empathy, acetaminophen is also known for another unwanted side effect: Liver damage. Tylenol may be sold over the counter, but it is still a potent liver toxin. Acetaminophen is one of the top causes of liver failure in the United States — a fact that is swept under the rug by the corrupt pharma industry. Far too many people are poisoning themselves with this drug on a daily basis, and most will never know how dangerous it actually is.

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