Existential Despair? Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning

Please don't give Tylenol to your existentially-challenged cat.

Please don’t give Tylenol to your existentially-challenged cat.

Interesting research from the University of British Columbia: Apparently Tylenol can also ease aches and pains of the existential kind. Look for new Sartre strength in the “Ennui” aisle of your local drug store:

New research this week found that Tylenol altered the way subjects passed moral judgements. Psychologists used that as a proxy measure for personal distress, a relationship that has been previously demonstrated. Daniel Randles and colleagues at the University of British Columbia write in the journal Psychological Science, “The meaning-maintenance model posits that any violation of expectations leads to an affective experience that motivates compensatory affirmation. We explore whether the neural mechanism that responds to meaning threats can be inhibited by acetaminophen.” Totally. More plainly, “Physical pain and social rejection share a neural process and subjective component that are experienced as distress.” That neural process has been traced to the same part of the brain. They figure that if you blunt one, you blunt both. As they told LiveScience, “When people feel overwhelmed with uncertainty in life or distressed by a lack of purpose, what they’re feeling may actually be painful distress … We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain, because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress.”

I’ve got a headache this big and it has “crushing weight of anomie” all over it. Keep reading.

8 Comments on "Existential Despair? Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning"

  1. I saw this story the other day and thought, “This is going to lead to some burnt up livers.”

    • emperorreagan | Apr 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

      The Booze/Tylenol path of alleviating existential angst has been burning through livers for decades!

      • Indeed it has.

        And I don’t see this improving the situation. Tylenol alone is enough to do the job, if taken at injudicious levels.

  2. emperorreagan | Apr 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

    I assume they excluded people based on their beliefs on prostitution, because I’d set bail for a prostitute at a penny no matter how anxious and existentially troubled I felt.

  3. You need to listen to your body.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Apr 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

    Ennui, now there’s a word I ain’t seen in a long time

    those researchers must suffer from the ennui of mental masturbation
    having to pimp for Big Pharma’s Tylenol has got suck the intellectual life outa ya

  5. Spasmodius | Apr 20, 2013 at 8:53 am |

    This is no news to opiophiles.

Comments are closed.