why the latest tylenol breakthrough may not be as bad as we think

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Let’s face it, drugs have side effects. From potential liver damage, to the laundry list of side effects that psych meds note in commercials, putting anything into your body has a consequence, and that’s important to be aware of.

But medicine is all about weighing the pros and cons, and the actual need. Sure, painkiller addiction is an epidemic in this country, but for those who have surgery or a life altering ailment that prevents movement due to widespread or chronic pain, they may be absolutely necessary. Yes, we can control things like inflammation with diet, exercise and the like, but I will be the first to say that there are times when a migraine, or back pain, or a wound requires something other than eating healthy and drinking lots of water.

I will also state plainly that I AM NOT ANTI VACCINE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. I am pro-science in an educated way, with practitioners I trust, in a holistic mindset, with a realistic way of looking at life. I vaccinate my daughter, I vaccinate myself. That is a fact.

With that being said, let’s look at the latest Tylenol revelation.

According to the Ohio State News Room “Researchers at The Ohio State University found, for example, that when participants who took acetaminophen learned about the misfortunes of others, they thought these individuals experienced less pain and suffering, when compared to those who took no painkiller.”

So sure, people are saying to be wary of the side effects of meds previously thought to be safe; and we should be. Anything we put in our bodies has a consequence; food, alcohol, water, drugs. But when we weigh the pros and cons of taking a pain reliever, versus taking something like an anti-depressant, perhaps that perspective changes focus.

What if this newly determined, physiological effect of a common, household drug can help those with depression, or anxiety, or other disorders on the mental illness spectrum, in a way that allows for fewer prescription drugs to be taken. Drugs that have more severe side effects.

Now hold your horses. This is simply hypothesis. I am NOT saying that people with diagnosed mental disorders should go off their meds and start taking Tylenol. Also, what about the greater implications of this kind of effect on those with disorders that decrease empathy already? Clearly, sociopaths would not benefit from taking Acetaminophen.

Click here for some really interesting articles from Psychology Today on Empathy.

I know there’s a lot of discussion about big pharma and there is a burgeoning population that wants to get away from an industry that they don’t trust, but really, in the end, the facts are pretty clear. Science has cured MANY ailments. This post isn’t about that. It’s about opening our minds to the ways that we can repurpose what we have to make life better for those who need it. It’s also about education, and developing an understanding that knowing is truly half the battle.

[gif source: http://www.primerstories.com]

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