Some people have a habit of popping a pill even at minor discomforts. From headaches to stomach aches, over-the-counter painkillers come to the rescue for many who consider it to be relatively harmless. The new review of studies by the University of California found that these medications may be influencing our thoughts and emotions towards sensitive information, experience hurt feelings and our reactions to emotionally provocative images. These findings are published in the journal Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences. The previous studies
An experiment conducted, found that women who took a dose of Ibuprofen reported less hurt feelings from emotionally painful experiences as compared to a control group. On the other hand, men reported the opposite effect; the emotional pain heightened for them after taking the pill.
People who took a dose of paracetamol were less emotionally distressed while they read about a person experiencing physical or emotional pain as compared to a control group.
The drugs may also be affecting how our brains process information. Researchers noted that they found the participants who took paracetamol made more errors when they are involved in a game and asked to either perform or not perform a certain task. Even their reaction to emotional objects, such as pleasant and unpleasant photographs was less extreme as compared to a control group.
Another interesting thing that the researchers noted in the participants who took paracetamol was discomfort from parting with possessions as compared to control group.
"In many ways, the reviewed findings are alarming," says Dr. Kyle Ratner, author of the study. "Consumers assume that when they take an over-the-counter pain medication, it will relieve their physical symptoms, but they do not anticipate broader psychological effects," he further added.