The Effect of Trust on Treatment: Placebo

When we feel bad or sick, we often think that if we take a medicine, we will be okay. Do we really need this drug? Or are we conditioned to this situation?

What is Placebo?

Placebo means “I will please” in Latin. It is a treatment with no therapeutic effect.  Placebo could be a pill, injection, or some other type of treatment. But it’s just fake treatment. It is also called a sugar pill because it does not contain any active substance.

The common feature of placebos is that they do not contain any substance intended to affect health.  So how does the patient recover if the placebo is ineffective? The placebo effect is mostly explained by the mind-body interaction. The mind can trick the body into believing that a fake treatment has therapeutic results. However, research does not provide a full explanation for this.

Placebo can also be caused by the person’s expectation. People who are highly motivated and expect treatment to work are more likely to experience the placebo effect. For example, the patient’s trust in the treating physician or the patient’s belief that the treatment will work may positively affect the placebo.

Why are Placebos Used in Clinical Trials?

A placebo can be used to evaluate the efficacy of a drug in clinical trials. It is mostly used in randomized- double blind controlled trials. Here’s how it works : Participants are divided into two groups. One group is given the drug whose effectiveness is being investigated, and the other group is given a placebo. Participants and researchers can’t know which group took which drug. At the end of the study, the benefit of the two groups from the treatment is evaluated.

What is Nocebo?

Nocebo has the opposite effect of placebo. It is defined as a substance that worsens the state of health. It causes harmful consequences. Different side effects can be seen (headache, nausea ets.).

The articles on this page are for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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