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Medicine

Tylenol May Ease Pain of Existential Distress, Social Rejection 190

Posted by timothy
from the existential-distress-is-just-a-headache dept.
Guppy writes "Does Tylenol reduce existential distress? Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) has been used to relieve mild-to-moderate physical pain for over a century, yet its actual mechanism of action continues to be debated; modern research has demonstrated an intriguing connection with the body's endocannabinoid system, raising the question of whether it may also have subtle psychological effects as well. A recent paper claims Acetaminophen can alter our response to existential challenge; previous findings have suggested that it may blunt the pain of social rejection as well."
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Tylenol May Ease Pain of Existential Distress, Social Rejection

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  • Re:I have become.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:16AM (#43639769)

    Sorry, but the annual death toll from mixing opioids with APAP is far higher than 500. It's just not reported as such. The financial costs of medical care for opioid addicts is far higher than that of cancer patients, as they may seek treatment for their pain several times a day from many different sources.

    [citation needed: own experience] I used to be a travelling salesman in the Western US with an opioid addict for my boss. In addition to our actual work we stopped at three clinics a day in seven states on a regular route. He had Blue Cross, and every clinic gave him a 90-day script for hydrocodone at least, sometimes Percocet or Oxycontin. God only knows what that bill was like. We did this for over a year, and hit the same clinics every 90 days. The work was lucrative of course, or it could not support this. He wasn't "taking" his medication, he was "eating" it.

    It was a fun gig, and as you might imagine morality was a situational thing. Not personally profitable though. Definitely an adventure. Never cared for the opioids myself, but the liquor flowed and we hit all the gentleman’s clubs with ready cash in hand.

    I gave up when he needed to go into rehab and wanted me to do the work with a crackhead as my boss to fill in for him. Oxy freaks are one thing, but crackheads try to kill you, usually soon. His choice of the (we all knew it) crackhead to keep up the cashflow over me who didn't have these issues was the end. I got out.

    On the way home I stopped and had a "relationship" with his wife. I'm not proud of that, but damn it was fun.

    When I got home my own wife was knocked up with somebody else's kid. Karma.

    He's dead now. Liver failure, not in any way associated with his 20 year opioid with APAP addiction so he doesn't count in that year's 500.

    /AC for good and proper reasons. Hopefully the content will override the lack of provenance.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:09AM (#43640133) Journal
    One group was forced to watch 4 minutes from The Rabbits [youtube.com] (this could very well be four minutes of watching a creepy Donny Darko-esque [youtube.com] rabbit housewife ironing in while listening to lethargic creepy music), while the other group watched an unspecified 4-minute clip from the Simpsons. The result was that the people who took Tylenol thought that a person convicted of theft or vandalism during a riot (hockey, of course, since the study was conducted in Canada) should be subjected to a punishment 23% more severe than normal if they watched the Simpsons, and 26% more severe than normal after watching the Rabbits. The people who took the placebo thought that the punishment should be 26% more severe than normal if they watched the Simpsons, and 42% more severe than normal after watching the Rabbits.

    I have to question the judgment of a researcher who would use The Simpsons as a "control," especially when he's not specifying what the clip was about. He says "all clips available upon request." That's like saying "name of the drug given to participants in the study available on request." Knowing the Simpsons, it could have been anything from "If a cow ever got the chance, it would eat you and everyone you ever cared about," to Homer driving the family to Alaska, stopping at the border and hearing, "Welcome to Alaska, here's a thousand dollars!" It could well be that the Rabbits gave the placebo group a headache. See the comments on the rabbits clip on YouTube. Top comment:

    "This is creepy as fuck."

    Other comments:

    "Something's wrong."
    "you are a madman."
    "Haunting in the most dream-like will always return to this."
    "Wow, that horrific scream made me jump."
    "It's like... they're having a normal conversation, just... not in the right order."
    "Man, D.A.R.E. would be a lot more successful if they just pointed to shit like this."

    All those people sound like they need Tylenol, or Excedrin, or something to make their head stop hurting. Since the placebo group did not have anything to make their head stop hurting, they decided to take it out on the people who rioted over a hockey game...

  • Re:Okay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:07AM (#43642537) Homepage

    Why would we want to numb existential distress?

    Here's the skinny for those who think that anxiety and depression are just something that weak people complain about. These issues are a result of a physical condition. Think of it like have having diabetes, or having your legs blown off. People who succumb to extreme anxiety are some of the strongest willed people out there. They have to live with this condition day in and day out, and try to appear normal at the same time. The mechanism is easy to understand. When someone points a loaded gun at you, or in more primitive time, a tiger jumps out of the bush, your neurochemicals change. You freeze, time slows, you are ready to jump and run at a moment's notice, you are prepared to die. The same is true for harsh conditions, wartime, famine, etc. People who are naturally in a state of high stress have a better chance of survival. Life is pretty awful, but you can bear the next tragedy pretty well. Now imagine a society where we never have to deal with these things. Those that are predisposed to deal with the worst through genetics, upbringing, life events, etc., that is, who have a physically different neurochemicals, have no reason to be that way. There is no tiger, although it feels like there is. There is no war, although your brain is telling you that there is. You can't simply "suck it up" or "just get over it." It's the way that you are forced to think, and you spend your life fighting these feelings.

    Most people don't have these feelings. Lucky them. The problem is that they can't conceive of what it's like when you are constantly on alert, because any lapse means that you will die. Now therapy does help to some extent. It helps you identify triggers, and to identify when your body is telling you something that's not true. But it's tiring, and painful to deal with. Having some kind of medication to help alleviate that, and get you back to a stable level of neurochemicals is a god send. The problem with meds is that every one has side effects, so it is imperative that you find a doctor to help you find the best dosage and mix with the least side effects. And do therapy at the same time to learn to see those effects on your moods and thinking.

    So, yes, it is wonderful to have another option for anxiety when your brain is telling you to run and hide and there is nothing there. We're not talking about suppressing minor ennui or occasional blues. We're not saying to get rid of all emotions. But if taking a couple of over the counter pills with minor side effects can get a truly anxious person through a touch situation, then I'm all for that.

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