Can Pain Medications Dull Your Emotions Too?

Can Pain Medications Dull Your Emotions Too?

While you’re trying to block out the pain of a pounding headache you could also be affecting how you feel emotionally, new research suggests.

It’s possible that taking pain medications, such as acetaminophen, could not only be dulling your pain but also your emotions too, according to a new study from The Ohio State University and published in the journal Psychological Science.

For the study, the researchers undertook studies, one of which included around 80 college students. Half of the participants were given 1,000 mg of the pain medication and the other half took a placebo. The students were then shown photographs that portrayed negative, neutral and positive imagery.

They were asked to rate each photo on a scale of extremely negative to extremely positive and were asked to rate their emotional reaction to the photo on a scale of having little emotion reaction to having extreme emotional reaction.

It was found that the participants who took acetaminophen rated the images less extremely and had a lesser emotional reaction compared to those who took the placebo. The researchers said that not only can acetaminophen be a pain reliever, but could also be seen as an “all-purpose emotion reliever.”

While it has been shown that acetaminophen works to ease physical pain, this study focused on the drug’s effects on positive emotions.

Photo credit: Adul10/Shutterstock


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