From “Body Sense” Psychology Today: So, if physical and emotional pain have similar neural signatures, why not take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for grief, loss, or despair? People who had experienced a recent social rejection were randomly assigned to take acetaminophen vs. a placebo daily for three weeks. The people in the acetaminophen condition reported fewer hurt feelings during that period. When their brains were scanned at the end of the treatment period, the acetaminophen takers had less activation in the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.
What is it called when you have too much empathy?
*It seems that most cultures value empathy enough that it’s unlikely to be viewed as a disorder. In fact, even the most extreme examples of empathy (complete self sacrifice) are often considered admirable things in books and movies.
*Yes there is a condition which often causes extreme acts of empathy. Its the hero disease: extreme altruism, x-altruism or pathological altruism. Its not in DSM 5. x-altruism occurs when people are compelled to act on the basic feelings of empathy or sympathy they have toward others. Its common among police officers, firefighters and soldiers who have received the Purple Heart Medal as well as other high risk jobs which frequently place themselves in harms way to help others.
Unlike a normal person the x-altruist cannot resist the urge of empathy and will do seemingly irrational things to fulfill their need to help others. x-altruist are not perfect people but they do extraordinary things for the good of other people.
*I experience empathy to the extent that it causes massive social phobia and other such problems. Other human beings end up being a constant sort of noise even when they’re silent and being around them too often drains me of all my energy, but I don’t actually produce my own emotions a lot of the time (or I can’t recognize them as well not sure) so being left alone causes me an extreme feeling of emptiness and leads to massive depression. No medical health professionals have ever listened when I’ve brought it up as a potential problem. They tend to tell me not to worry about it and seek other causes for my anxiety instead of trying to help me learn to cope with it. I would say it’s problematic especially in the sense that no one takes it seriously. I mean it’s seen as such an unerringly positive thing that normal people cannot possibly imagine it being detrimental in any way but it is.