Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Science of Paracetamol and Pound Shops

I recently got an email from a friend I haven't seen since sixth form, he's been following my blog and took a particular interest in 'Side-Effects of Effectiveness'. He keeps pretty up to date with new science stuff and explained to me that pain-killers have been proved to help with intrusive/ compulsive negative thinking (the stuff that bugs me the most). The upshot of the research is that compulsive thinking actually creates emotional stress/pain in the same part of the brain that tells our bodies that they are experiencing physical pain. Early tests seem to show that paracetamol is the most effective drug in inhibiting receptors in that part of the brain. Thus - paracetamol (or similar drugs) are likely to be part of the formulation of future anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs.
Could this explain why some of us are addicted to painkillers? I myself have been through phases of popping codeine pills at every opportunity, convincing myself I had a stomach ache when I was just a bit hungry, walking into A&E with self diagnosed meningitis when it was just an ignored sell by date, and don't even get me started with my strokes and hangovers. 
So next time I see Mr Upstairs we're  going discuss this. I doubt they actually write prescriptions for paracetamol for such psychiatric illnesses but it's being grown up enough to discuss it as I am notorious for self medicating, self increasing/reducing and self withdrawing. No wonder I often feel as stable as a yoyo from the pound shop!
When I think of that brain receptor stuff (above) I try to think of it like this..

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