Love hurts. But now scientists believe drugs taken to dull physical pain could help numb the pain of rejection too
A new study has found that a simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.
Neuroscientists from the University of California discovered that emotional pain is processed in the same area of the brain as physical pain, suggesting painkillers could be used to dull feelings following a break-up.
In a three-week trial, scientists found people taking 1,000mg of the painkiller Tylenol showed a significant reduction in hurt feelings compared to those taking a placebo.
‘Rejection is such a powerful experience for people,’ says Dr Naomi Eisenberger, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University of California.
‘If you ask poeple to think back about some of their earliest negative experiences, they will often be about rejection, about being picked last for a team or left out of some social group.
‘It follows in a logical way that the physical and social pain systems overlap.’
Dr Eisenberger warns people against taking painkillers after traumatic experiences. She says: ‘Emotional pain is a healthy response, which teaches us not to repeat the behaviour that has caused the pain, and dulling this hurt could impair recovery.’