Placebo is defined as anything that appears to be a “real” medical treatment but isn’t. It could be a pill, a shot, or another “fake” treatment. Moreover, there is one thing that all placebos have in common: they don’t have any harmful substances that are supposed to have a health effect.
What Is the Placebo Effect?
A person’s reaction to a placebo can happen at any time. The reaction can be either negative or positive. For example, the individual’s symptoms may improve. Alternatively, the person may experience what appear to be treatment-related side effects. The “placebo effect” refers to these responses.
Even if people are aware that they are taking placebos, the placebos can still produce results. According to research, placebos can have an effect on conditions such as:
- Sleep disorders
In one asthma study, people who used a placebo inhaler performed no better on breathing tests than those who sat and did nothing. When patients were asked how they felt, many said the placebo inhaler made them feel better.
How Are Placebos Used?
Researchers use placebos to determine the impact of a new medicine or other treatment on a specific ailment.
For example, some participants in a study will be given cholesterol-lowering medication, while others would be given a dummy pill. Nobody will know whether they got a placebo or the real thing.
Furthermore, a medication’s effect and the placebo on the study participants are compared. This allows them to assess the new drug’s efficacy and look for side effects.
The Psychology Behind Placebo Effect
The placebo effect is a fascinating link between body and mind that is still not fully understood. We’ll go over some psychological explanations for the placebo effect in the following sections.
Classical conditioning. When you associate something with a specific response, you are engaging in classical conditioning. If you become ill after eating a particular food, you may associate that food with your illness and avoid it in the future. This association can then have an impact on how you feel about the treatment you’re getting.
Expectations. The placebo effect is heavily influenced by a person’s expectations. You may feel better after taking a pill if you expect it to make you feel better. It has the potential to influence your perception of what is going to happen to you.
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