You may have encountered the expression “placebo effect” in real life or in medical series. For example, in the popular “Dr. house” more than once you could hear “it is necessary to exclude the placebo effect”. In this article, we will understand what it is in simple words.
Let’s start with the fact that a placebo is a substance that has absolutely no medicinal properties and is used to simulate the medication. This substance is often called “dummy”. But why is it necessary if it does not treat people in any way?
Usually, placebo is used in studies to eliminate distortion in the results. The fact is that a person’s faith works miracles. And this is not propaganda of religion, it really is. A person can feel better through faith, or at least convince themselves of it. This is called the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is an improvement in a person’s well-being due to a belief in the effectiveness of a drug (or other effect).
Example. Two subjects were given saline instead of the test drug for an incurable disease. One of them started to feel better, which was reflected in the tests. But in fact, saline can not help in this case, so the subject was diagnosed with a “placebo effect”.
The placebo effect can manifest itself in different ways. This depends on the person’s suggestibility, i.e., on how trusting they are.
Additional circumstances may include: the appearance of the drug, its cost, and the complexity of obtaining it. For example, a person is seriously ill, and he is sure that there is a remedy that will help him. He buys it for a lot of money on the black market and believes that now it will certainly be able to heal. The probability of a placebo effect in this case is quite high.
Also, additional factors may be the degree of trust in the attending physician and the authority of the medical institution. For example, if you make an incorrect diagnosis and prescribe the wrong treatment, the patient may get better or it may seem to him that he will be cured. All this is because he believes in improvement.