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Thou mind’s power to heal – The Placebo Effect

The Placebo Effect

Placebo – Dummy Pills

Hey there, fellas! This might sound somewhat strange but scientists are working hard to fully understand how this is possible. The Placebo effect is one of the most baffling mystery in the history of brain study.

A placebo is a medically ineffective treatment that is administered with the intention of deceiving the patient or the person receiving the treatment. In some cases, the person who receives this sham treatment (totally ineffectual in reality) actually gets better simply because he BELIEVES that the treatment is working. This effect is called the placebo effect.

The best example with which this effect is demonstrated is a person with some condition is given a pill and the doctor ensures that his condition will start getting better once he takes the pill. In reality, the pill is a dummy (filled with some kind of sugar solution). The patient is not told that this is a dummy pill. After the patient takes it, the magic starts to take place. He believes that the pill is going to make him better and hence he , after some time, feels better and in some cases the sickness is alleviated. Hence, the placebo effect is said to have taken place. Doctors call this a Therapeutic effect of medical treatment meaning any positive effect arising out of a medical treatment (whether expected or unexpected / intended or unintended) is beneficial and accepted.

The Placebo effect has been bombarded by controversies and numerous people have been researching and putting down their own theories. The doctors say that a person should know the treatment he is receiving. For example, patients who were told that they were receiving treatment and were given medicine while they were conscious showed more progress than a person who did not know he was receiving medication and it was secretly being administered to him.  Also, the words that the doctors speak plays a big part. When the doctors said “The treatment is going to be effective for sure”, the patient believes that he is going to be alright than when a doctor says “I’m not sure if the treatment will get him back to 100%”.

There are several impracticalities in prescribing a placebo to a patient.

  • This effect takes place in only about 30 % of the population and there is a good chance that the patient might fall in the remaining 70% of the population.
  • A placebo “might” give relief but it is going to take a while. The patient has to believe in the treatment and it is going to make him better.
    In this circumstance, real medicine would provide immediate results (especially when the pain is excruciating or when the conditions are getting worse).
  • A doctor who is prescribing Placebo tablets might have to charge the actual price of the “real medicine” so that patient does not get suspicious.

So, the placebo is a difficult technique to administer. Every good thing that has ever existed had it’s bad or negative counter part and Placebo is no exception. The negative effect or the opposite effect of Placebo is called the “Nocebo Effect“. In this, administering an inert substance like a sugar pill or a sham surgery has negative effects and worsens the patient’s condition.

Both the Placebo and Nocebo are purely Psychogenic responses (A response that originates from the “mind“) rather than other organs. The effect is based on what the patient or the person taking up the dummy pills or sham surgery feels like and also based on his expectations. The best example of a Nocebo Effect would be a person dying from fright after being bit by a non-poisonous snake. Below is a documentary about the Placebo Effect.

This is a very interesting form of treatment and I hope the doctors and the researchers find the best ways to use this effect properly. Also, if we could keep progressing in our research about the Placebo, we might be able to find a cure or treatment for the diseases or conditions that have no cure today. Good Day!

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2013 by in Science, Computer and Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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