Got Some Existential Angst? Try Tylenol

Study suggests it eases non-physical pain, too
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2013 1:23 PM CDT
Got Some Existential Angst? Try Tylenol
“The Scream,” by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.   (AP Photo/Sotheby’s Auction House)

This could make for some interesting commercials: A new study suggests that Tylenol not only eases physical aches, but existential ones, too, reports Psych Central. Researchers found that people asked to brood about their own deaths were less, um, broody if they popped a Tylenol as opposed to a sugar pill. Best part of the experiment: They got the same results with people who had their existential angst stirred up by watching David Lynch movie clips.

“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 the lead researcher from the University of British Columbia. The study builds on previous research that Tylenol's main ingredient, acetaminophen, eases another sort of non-physical pain—that of being ostracized by friends. (More existential questions stories.)

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