The Wall Street Journal:
Consider this trade-off the next time you have a headache: Would you take a medicine that didn’t just ease the pain but muffled your happiness too?
A recent study suggests that acetaminophen—found in Tylenol, Excedrin and a host of other medications—is an all-purpose damper, stifling a range of strong feelings. Throbbing pain, the sting of rejection, paralyzing indecision—along with euphoria and delight—all appear to be taken down a notch by the drug.
For most people, this over-the-counter palliative doesn’t demand much thought: Take the right dose and the pain goes away. But it may not be that simple.
In 2010, the psychologists Naomi Eisenberger and Nathan DeWall discovered that a three-week course of acetaminophen soothed social pain, like feelings of exclusion or ridicule. The drug also assuaged the agony of indecision, Dr. DeWall found earlier this year.
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