The Placebo Effect may get you.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs

Placebo?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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.

SasquatchWandering 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.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Are you a Mind Reader?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fortuneteller.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How good are you at reading minds?

I see a lot of mind readers and would be mind readers every day. I also see a lot of people in relationships that seem to believe their partner should be able to read their mind. These folks think they know what other people are thinking. These are amateur mind readers or spouses of amateur mind readers.

We are not talking here about the professional mind readers. The ones who study nonverbal communication and can tell about your feelings from your behavior. Professionals use intuition, that mix of gut felt-sense and small clues, which let them read the person in front of them. They couple that with some standard lines, some stage presence and a lot of luck and skill.

Amateur mind readers are neither skilled not willing to practice reading others. They just assume that they know what everyone else thinks about them. They are sure that no one likes them; everyone is talking about them and that the world is out to get them.

These would-be mind readers also believe that everyone else can, or should be able to, read their minds. They love to say. You know what I mean – without further explanation. If questioned they are indignant that you don’t know what they mean and will tell you that you should know how your speech and actions will affect them.

Mind readers are also quick to tell you that if they have to explain something to you then you wouldn’t get it anyway. There are also surprised at how often people just don’t get them. Their thinking goes that since you should know what they want and how what you say and do is affecting them, you must be doing things deliberately to hurt them.

Mind readers make serious efforts to guilt people into behavior. When that effort to guilt you into knowing their wants and needs fails to work, they are quick to tell you that if they have to explain it then you wouldn’t be able to get it anyway. You, of course, know what I mean?

Mind reading, the belief that we know what others are thinking about us, is one of those “cognitive distortions” that result in maladaptive or irrational thoughts. As we have seen in previous posts (see – Are they laughing at you) if you believe that others do not like you or disapprove of you, and you look for evidence of that, you just might find it.

These mind-reading problems result in a lot of couple’s relationship problems. One partner believes that the way the other acts or something they say “means” that they don’t like you, don’t want to be with you and so on.

Occasionally these beliefs turn out to be correct not because of this current situation but cumulatively a person’s behavior and statements can give you that gut feeling we call intuition.

One thing that amateur mind readers fail to do is directly check out this belief about why others are saying and doing the things they do with the person involved. Getting couples to talk to each other and really hear what the other partner is saying and feeling, is a large part of couples counseling.

Despite what most mind readers believe, most partners have no idea what the other partner is talking about a good part of the time. They are often not attaching the same meanings to the words they say. (See post on Denotative and Connotative meanings of words.)

Continuing to act as if the person has the feelings and motives you have assigned to them creates actions that can bring this to reality. Remember when we talked about how thinking you are sick can actually make you sick? (The Nocebo effect) The same thing happens in relationships if you practice this amateur mind-reading.

You partner walks in the door, there is a disgusted look on their face. You realize that there are some things in the living room that you did not get picked up. You KNOW that they are thinking that you are a slob, they hate you and they wished they had never married you.

Your response to this partner’s look of disgust is to start to cry followed by a loud outburst. “I hate you.” Men skip the crying part and just storm out of the room.

The key problem with mind reading is that we decide what the other person is thinking without getting information from them. We also make the mistake of thinking that what others think and do is somehow about us. Often the others in our lives are preoccupied with their own problems and issues.

That partner of yours, they may have had a really bad day at work. Something went wrong and they are thoroughly disgusted with a coworker. They came home expecting to tell you the story. They were expecting some support from you. But your mind reading, your belief that everything the partner does is about you, has resulted in your statement “I hate you.”

Mind readers need to learn to check out these thoughts and beliefs at a calm rational time. We also need to stop thinking that everything others do is somehow about us and that others are responsible to do and not do things that might upset us.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.