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.

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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.

Why do drugs affect people differently?

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

Drugs.

Drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Many factors affect the way people experience drugs.

Whether it’s legally obtained drugs, or the prescription kind, obtained from a drugstore with a doctor’s prescription, the way people experience those drugs varies widely. Recently we’ve seen an epidemic of deaths because of the use and abuse of prescription pain medication. Some people are in chronic pain; pain medications alleviate their suffering and allow them to function. Other people like the way those drugs make them feel or the way they keep them from having to feel anything.

People who take powerful painkillers for emotional reasons, to get high, run a high risk of becoming addicted. Three characteristics of addiction tell us that as people develop tolerance, experience withdrawals, and begin to have cravings for a drug of abuse, the risk that will take larger and larger amounts increases.

What are some of the factors that affect the drug using experience and may result in drug use turning into abuse, addiction, and the development of the drug use disorder?

Drug dosage influences the using experience.

With most drugs, small amounts of drugs produce smaller effects. Common over-the-counter pain relievers a relatively safe and not likely to cause addiction when taken as directed. Take large amounts of over-the-counter pain relievers and the risk of permanent damage to your liver or kidney, possibly even death, becomes a real possibility.

Drink one standard drink, let’s say a single twelve-ounce beer, each day, and you’re not likely to develop an alcohol use disorder. Drinking a six-pack a day and you will begin to build tolerance. Eventually, that drinker will need to drink a case of beer a day to feel the same effect. The higher the blood alcohol content goes on anyone drinking occasion, the more the risks.

A large percentage of the people in America have tried marijuana. Most find it doesn’t affect their lives. But a small number of marijuana smokers voluntarily seek treatment for cannabis use disorder.  What is different about the people who seek out treatment for a marijuana-related problem? Most of the people who develop problems with marijuana smoke every day and the quantity they smoke has increased over time.

When it comes to opiates, stimulant drugs, or other recreational drugs, the higher the dose, the more the risk.

How the drug gets into your body affects the experience.

The way in which drugs enter the body is referred to as route of administration.

Let’s use opiates as an example. It’s possible to smoke heroin, the high is experienced almost instantaneously, but a lot of the potency is lost in the process of smoking. Any drug that is smoked produces a rapid high and equally rapid withdrawal.

An equal amount of heroin mixed into a beverage and swallowed will be slower to take effect. Much of the potency is destroyed as the drug goes through the stomach. Stomach acids neutralize a large part of the potency of many drugs.

That same dose of heroin can be injected, producing a much more intense effect when the large dose reaches the brain. People who inject drugs experience much more intensive effects.

Psychological factors alter the experience of drug use.

Psychological set, the mood someone is in impacts the drug using experience. Someone who is in a happy mood and drinks alcohol may feel an increase in their happiness. They are celebrating. Someone who was angry and drinks may become angrier and more likely to act on that anger as the alcohol disinhibits them. A person who is sad and depressed who drinks alcohol is at an increased risk of developing severe depression and possibly making a suicide attempt.

Setting, the place where someone uses the drug, also alters the effects of the user experiences. Millions of people receive painkillers while in the hospital. Most of them do not become addicted. But the same quantity of drugs, purchased in an alley from a drug dealer for recreational use, are much more likely to result in a substance use disorder.

Other psychological factors that alter the drug using experience are the placebo effect and the Nocebo effect.

Your belief that the drug will have a beneficial effect is likely to produce that effect, whether that effect is positive or negative. If you think a pill will cure your headache, it probably will, even if it does not contain any active ingredient. People who believe that a particular medication will give them headaches are more likely to get headaches even when the pill is a sugar pill.

For more on this topic see – Drug Use, Abuse, and Addiction and Recovery

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.