Afraid of death? Pop a Tylenol
The common painkiller may help certain people deal with their own mortality
Tylenol: Stops headaches and existential anxiety
Tylenol: Stops headaches and existential anxiety Scott Olson/Getty Images

If death's cold embrace is the kind of thing that keeps you up at night, researchers may have found just the thing for you. And, better still, it's probably in your medicine cabinet right now.


Yes, a team of psychologists from the University of British Columbia discovered that acetaminophen may help certain individuals overcome the crippling fear and anxiety they feel when contemplating their own mortality. For these special cases, the pain is palpable.

This study, says PsychCentral, "posits an expanded view of how the human brain processes different kinds of pain" — in this case, the psychological kind. Lead researcher Daniel Randles explains:

"Pain exists in many forms, including the distress that people feel when exposed to thoughts of existential uncertainty and death," says Randles. "Our study suggests these anxieties may be processed as 'pain' by the brain — but Tylenol seems to inhibit the signal telling the brain that something is wrong." [PsychCentral]

This isn't the first time Tylenol's pain-fighting powers have been tapped to nurse psychological trauma. Previous research suggests that the fever reducer may even help singles cope with the anguish of a newly broken heart.

Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.


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