According to a new research conducted by the University of British Columbia, Tylenol may assist in reducing the psychological fear and anxiety. Specifically, it will help to reduce anxiety associated with "thoughts of existential uncertainty and death".
Tylenol are drugs advertised for reducing pain, reducing fever, and relieving the symptoms of allergies, cold, cough, and flu.
Participants of the Tylenol groups mentioned they felt less upset following conversations about death and other existential topics.
Several groups were given either Tylenol-brand acetaminophen or a placebo through a double-blind study.
All the participants were then asked to read an arrest report regarding a prostitute, and to set the amount for bail.
As anticipated the control group that wrote regarding dental pain — who weren't made to feel an existentialist threat — gave relatively low bail amounts, only about $300. They didn't feel the reason to assert their values.
On the other hand, the participants who wrote about their own death and were given a sugar pill gave over $400 for bail, in line with previous studies. They reacted to the threat on life’s meaning and order by affirming their basic values, maybe as a coping mechanism.
But, the participants in this group who took Tylenol were not as harsh in setting bail. These results suggest that their existential suffering was ‘treated’ by the headache drug.
"Pain extends beyond tissue damage and hurt feelings, and includes the distress and existential angst we feel when we're uncertain or have just experienced something surreal" said lead researcher Daniel Randles.
"Regardless of the kind of pain, taking Tylenol seems to inhibit the brain signal that says something is wrong."
“For people who suffer from chronic anxiety, or are overly sensitive to uncertainty, this work may shed some light on what is happening and how their symptoms could be reduced,” Randles concludes.
The brand is owned by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.