By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Things you might not know about the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is important for everyone. Research finds that often the placebo effect is equally as strong as the actual effective treatment. Even when you know you’re taking a placebo, it may be affecting you. Here are some of the things you may not know about placebos.
Placebos affect you even when you know they are placebos.
You don’t have to be tricked for the placebo to work. Even when the doctor tells you that this is the placebo, but you can try it if you want it’s likely to help you particularly for issues that can be affected by your emotional state. People knew they were taking a placebo saw improvement in their hay fever and back pain but not in the healing of wounds.
The more the placebo looks like medicine, the better it works.
People who were injected with saltwater reported it helped relieve their symptoms. Placebos are another place where more is better. People took for placebo pills a day said it helped their symptoms more than if they only took one pill.
The appearance of placebos matter.
If the placebo comes in the package of the well-known medicine people are more likely to report it works. Companies who have an effective product find they can sell other medications simply by putting their brand name on the package.
In repeated studies, capsules work better than pills. People report that two colored capsules work better than white capsules. The color of the capsule matters. More people will report positive effects from blue capsules than from pink capsules.
Your personality influences the effects placebos have on you.
Optimists are more likely to report positive effects taking placebo pills. Friendly people, as well as people with more resilience, also respond more strongly to placebos.
People believe treatment is more effective when they liked the provider.
Most counselors believe that the effects of counseling depend on the relationship between the client and the therapist. It turns out this is also true in medical settings. The more you like your doctor and the more confidence you have in them, the more effective the treatment.
Placebos can make you smarter and more creative.
People taking smart drugs even when the drugs are placebos may perform better on tests. People who were told that particular scents would make them more creative scored higher on tests of creativity.
Things you do every day may be a placebo.
If you believe something you do every day is healthy, it may improve your health. People who were told the kind of work they do is the equivalent of healthy exercise, perform better at work and feel better. People who believe they are getting more sleep than they do feel better. In one study people who believed they were exercising more than their peers were healthier and lived longer even when they were exercising less than they thought.
The nocebo effect is equally dramatic.
People who are warned about the side effects of medication are more likely to experience them. The nocebo effect can take place even if the medication you’re taking is inert. People who are told the medication may nauseate them or make them drowsy are likely to experience these effects.
You will find more about the nocebo effect in this post.
The more researchers study the placebo effect the more we conclude if you think it’s good for you it probably is and if you think it will harm you it likely will. Absent any evidence that your placebo is harmful you might as well keep on taking it.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.
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