Placebos

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Placebos, commonly utilized apparatuses employed in the medical field, are prescribed to replace drugs and reinforce a patient’s expectation of recovery from an ailment. These inactive substances serve five purposes. Primarily, placebos are used as a control condition to test neoteric medications. Next, they are used to therapeutically treat pathological problems. Thirdly, placebos are used to analyze interactions between humans and their environment. Also, they help explore underlying mechanisms of the brain. Lastly, placebos contemplate the interplay between mental activity and bodily functions.1 Placebos are beneficial psychological tools for pain analgesia because they are deeply connected to endogenous opioids and the dopaminergic systems, however, despite these attributes, they bring up ethical concerns and controversy. The placebo effect, in contrast to the nocebo effect, is a phenomenon in which a patient is given a false medication, yet believes that they are getting better. If a person had an expectation for the placebo, either positive or negative, the chances of it occurring increase greatly. Placebos are used to “reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well.” The nocebo effect is “entirely due to the subject's pessimistic belief and expectation that the inert drug in question would produce harmful, injurious, unpleasant or undesirable consequences.”3 Placebo and nocebo effects both have the same origins, but the presumption of the patient can change the outcome. When talking about placebos, there are three subsections to consider: “pure,” “impure,” and sub-therapeutic placebos. “Pure” placebos are the most common and contain no active ingredients; these include sugar pills and saline injections. “Impure” ... ... middle of paper ... ...olecystokinin. 2 Placebo. In American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary 3 Nocebo-Placebo. Retrieved May, 1, 2014, from Science Daily website: http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/n/nocebo.htm 4 Nauert, R. (2011, May 3). Placebo Prescriptions More Common than Expected. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from Psychcentral website: http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/05/13/placebo-prescriptions-more-common-than-expected/26165.html 5 Gavura, S. (2011, May 12). Placebo Prescriptions. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from Science Based Medicine website: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/placebo-prescriptions/ 6 New Research on the Placebo Effect. Retrieved from Exploring the Mind website: http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/ new-research-on-the-placebo-effect 7 Is Placebic Surgery Unethical? (2007). The New England Journal of Medicine, 347(2).

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