Hearts have been broken for about as long as there have been hearts to break -- but it's only in recent years that people began to rely on drugs to get over the emotional toll of rejection.
And if a new study is any indication, self-medication for this "condition" is about to get dangerously easy.
Acetaminophen, aka Tylenol, is already one of the most overused drugs on the planet, with overdoses now the nation's leading cause of acute liver failure.
But now, researchers claim this same med can help with more than just physical boo-boos. Because both physical and emotional pains are processed in the same part of the brain (the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex), the same meds used for one can supposedly help with the other.
To make that point, researchers assigned 62 people to either 1,000 mg of Tylenol or a placebo, and asked them to keep emotional journals for three weeks.
Sure enough, those who took the drug had fewer hurt feelings over that time.
In an earlier study, the same researchers found that Tylenol helps dull emotional pain in nine days.
And in another sequence of experiments, they used videogames to make people feel excluded and found that people who took Tylenol were less bothered by this high-tech version of classic social rejection.
The researchers admit that popping Tylenol for emotional pain probably isn't the best idea in the world, but you can bet that message is going to get lost in the wilderness.
And that's where this one can turn ugly fast -- because along with the risk of liver failure, acetaminophen overdose is responsible for 56,000 trips to the emergency room and hundreds of deaths every year in the United States alone.
This drug has also been linked to a host of side effects, including stomach bleeding, abdominal pain, an increased risk of blood cancer and even severe allergic reactions.
One recent study found that even small overdoses taken over several days --- what scientists call a "staggered" overdose --- can actually be deadlier than the big overdoses taken by people who attempt suicide.
So no matter what form of pain you're going through -- physical or emotional -- this drug is a bad choice.
Stick to natural options instead, including time itself. It might not heal all wounds, but it does a pretty good job with emotional pain.