The placebo effect is a medical concept that centers around the patient’s ability to gain relief through the usage of medication that would typically be considered to be ineffectual.
What is a placebo?
It is a treatment given to a person who is ill and is intended to trick the recipient into believing that they have received a legitimate form of medication. There are various kinds of treatments that act as placebos.
Placebo effects have been studied by scientists for years, as they attempt to figure out why certain patients have a better response to medications that are not designed to provide a cure. There are certain neurological mechanics at work during the healing process that scientists have been unable to quantify.
Placebo effect psychology entails the study of these neurological mechanics. Medical experts are routinely baffled by patients who are in the control group during studies and receiving a medication with no credible health benefits. Yet, even those who receive placebo medication often show signs of recovery.
This has led many to believe that placebo medication can be just as good for a person as proper pain medication. Brain imaging studies have been done that show that this is no mere one time only phenomenon. Physiological changes are often reported in subjects who were given placebo medication.
These changes include shifts in the person’s heart rate and normal brain functions. Subjects’ blood pressure has also been to know to rise and fall, depending on what they have been told about the medicine they are being given.
There are a variety of cases where placebo medication has produced a positive outcome in a patient, lending credence to the theory that placebos are preferable to normal pain medication. Depression, chronic pain, fatigue, and anxiety have all been shown by studies to improve upon the implementation of placebo medication in the patient’s daily living.
The mind is an extremely powerful tool for healing and the placebo effect only goes to demonstrate this power. Every medical intervention done in this era of modern medicine includes the placebo effect and even though the effects are widely considered to be very subjective, studies show that placebos can have a legitimate effect that is able to be measured.
No, the placebo effect is far from a testament to the power of thinking positively, as some would have patients believe. While there are certain limitations to how much effect a placebo medication can have on a patient’s overall well-being, the results of countless studies are simply too much to ignore.
A placebo can often do as much or more for a person than normal pain medications is able to and medical experts would be foolish not to continue exploring the effects that they have on all of their patients.