Could painkillers also kill pleasure?
Painkillers are great at helping us manage physical pain but the downside is that we may also be numbing positive feelings of pleasure too.
Asked by: Henry Parr, Frome
A couple of recent studies at the Ohio State University suggested that painkillers can blunt feelings of pleasure as well as pain. The researchers found that one 1,000mg dose of paracetamol could reduce the pleasure experienced from looking at heart-warming pictures, or reading short stories about someone having good luck.
It may be that paracetamol affects signalling processes in the brain linked to mood. However, the studies had a limited scope – focusing on students in a lab – making it difficult to equate with real-life settings.