A placebo is a harmless medicine or procedure that doctors prescribe for the psychological benefit of the patient. Doctors use this treatment to deceive patients into thinking that it is the real treatment and trick them into thinking it is working when it is not.
When a person experiences an improvement in their condition or symptoms after receiving a treatment that does not contain any active ingredients, the improvement happens due to the person’s belief or expectation that the treatment will be effective.
The discovery of the placebo effect goes back to the 18th century. Then, in the 19th century, Experts began to use the term “placebo” with the intention of having a psychological effect rather than a physiological one. After that, in the 1950s, they studied systematically the effect in clinical trials, particularly in studies involving pain relief.
Additionally, in the 1955, researcher Henry K. Beecher conducted one of the most famous studies in the field. This research found that around 35% of patients reported relief from pain after receiving a placebo injection. This study helped to establish the idea that the placebo effect was a real phenomenon, and not just a result of patients “imagining” their symptoms were improving. Nowadays, healthcare professionals use and accept this treatment method as a legitimate phenomenon in medical research.
The mechanism for the placebo effect isn’t very clear or understood. However, it involves complex interactions between the mind and body and may be happening due to the power of suggestion. the theory states that receiving any treatment can trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins or dopamine. This, therefore, affects the body’s response to pain and other symptoms.
Usage of Placebo
The placebo effect is a powerful tool in medicine, and it is often used in clinical trials to help researchers understand the effectiveness of new treatments.
This procedure, however, is not a substitute for effective medical treatment.
Placebo treatments are not typically used as a primary treatment option; however, the doctors sometimes use it to compare the effectiveness of a new treatment with a “fake” treatment.
Noting that consent must be obtained from patients, and they must be fully aware of the potential risks and benefits of the treatment being offered.
The use of placebos is controversial. Some people argue that the use of placebos is unethical because patients are being deceived. However, others argue that the use of the treatment is acceptable because it does not harm the patients. They actually may benefit from its effect.
Remember to keep your mental health in check. Contact Dr. Carla for a proper professional advice.