Tylenol a possible treatment for anxiety?
Tylenol, the widely used over-the-counter pain medication, may have a new role as an anxiety medication. According to new research from the University of British Columbia, Tylenol may be helpful in reducing the psychological effects of fear and anxiety, including feelings of dread. The study found that pain can exist in many forms, including distressing thoughts related to death or "existential uncertainty," and that a pain reliever may help reduce them.
In the study, participants performed tasks designed to evoke anxiety, unpleasant experiences and feelings of dread, including writing about death or watching surreal videos by David Lynch. The participants were then asked to assign fines to different types of crimes, including public rioting and prostitution. Half of the participants took acetaminophen – the generic version of Tylenol – and half took a placebo. The researchers found the acetaminophen group were far more lenient in judging the criminal acts and were better able to cope with troubling ideas.
While the findings suggest that Tylenol might have a place in treating anxiety, the researchers caution that further research – including extensive clinical trials – need to be conducted before this should be considered a safe or effective treatment option for anxiety.