Acetaminophen use linked to lowered empathy

#1
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-y...-kindness/  
Quote:In research published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University describe the results of two experiments they conducted involving more than 200 college students.

Their conclusion: Acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in the United States, can reduce a person's capacity to empathize with another person's pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional.  
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#2
Well of course it does. It's main use is in decreasing one's empathy (the ability to share feeling) with one's own body.

If that fundamental level of empathy is suppressed, why wouldn't any other?
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#3
(Oct 17, 2016 06:59 AM)elte Wrote: Their conclusion: Acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in the United States, can reduce a person's capacity to empathize with another person's pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional.  


"Emotional" is kind of surprising. There are those who seem to outright daily live on Tylenol or a generic, but I can't recall any necessarily standing out as heavily indifferent (at least in terms of outward appearances). Or to put it another way, when they are such they already seemed to have been inclining toward that disposition before they ever entered a constant pain-killer consumption era of their life.
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#4
I think just being in pain has the tendency to reduce one's empathy for other's pain. But in retrospect, it actually enhances it. I feel for people with headaches because I've had some real humdingers like the caffeine withdrawal I had while in jail! One cup of black coffee fixed that!
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#5
(Oct 17, 2016 07:20 PM)C C Wrote: "Emotional" is kind of surprising. There are those who seem to outright daily live on Tylenol or a generic, but I can't recall any necessarily standing out as heavily indifferent (at least in terms of outward appearances). Or to put it another way, when they are such they already seemed to have been inclining toward that disposition before they ever entered a constant pain-killer consumption era of their life.

People who have possessed genuine empathy also have the social reflex to display empathy, rather actually felt or not.
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#6
The findings do not surprise me for precisely the reasons that others have raised.


For persons with chronic conditions taking large doses daily, there are many other health risks associated with Acetaminophen than reduced empathy.

http://www.rxlist.com/tylenol-side-effec...center.htm

I find it rather worrying when I observe commercials where over the counter pain medication is marketed with as much aplomb as cough drops.
Chronic pain is not normal even if statistics would have one believe it to be the norm.

We need to identify the source of pain rather than just ignoring that detail and popping pills but that would not be a profitable strategy for several industries.
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#7
(Oct 17, 2016 11:50 PM)scheherazade Wrote: I find it rather worrying when I observe commercials where over the counter pain medication is marketed with as aplomb as cough drops.
Chronic pain is not normal even if statistics would have one believe it to be the norm.

We need to identify the source of pain rather than just ignoring that detail and popping pills but that would not be a profitable strategy for several industries.

Not to mention rebound headaches, especially when there is a simple exercise to alleviate headaches. For those who don't know, next time you have a headache, look around and find very small things, or even spots/dots on things. The goal is to focus sharply on each small spot, but move your focus from spot to spot fairly rapidly. Once you get into the habit, it only takes 5-10 seconds to stop a headache you feel coming on. (I use to have migraines occasionally, but now it's very rare I even get a mild headache.)
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#8
Reading things like this, my first thought is the familiar adage: Correlation doesn't imply causation.
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#9
(Oct 21, 2016 07:46 PM)Yazata Wrote: Reading things like this, my first thought is the familiar adage: Correlation doesn't imply causation.

Except their methodology seems pretty sound. Denying some degree of causation would require having equally likely correlates. Can you suggest any?
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#10
(Oct 21, 2016 07:46 PM)Yazata Wrote: Reading things like this, my first thought is the familiar adage: Correlation doesn't imply causation.

Absolutely correct.

Virtually all pain medications have some observable effect on the individual who is using them. While we are experiencing pain, most of us are occupied in dealing with it and so have less energy and interest in the usual interactions with others.

One could also surmise that it is the pain itself that is the cause of lowered empathy rather than the drug. The combination of pain and medication quite reasonably should result in some distancing from the day to day.

I have worked graveyard shift for over eleven years and it is readily noticeable when individuals are in physical or mental discomfort and wish to be left alone. Over the counter NSAIDs are common fare and experienced co-workers keep their distance when people are having 'one of those days'. Persons who are in chronic pain tend to get known as 'loners' because the rest leave them to go about their work uninterrupted unless it is essential.
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