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Thread: Whats wrong with the placebo effect.

  1. #1 Whats wrong with the placebo effect. 
    Forum Freshman Headdresser's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Somewhere in Germany
    Lately I've seen the documentary "fear and faith" about the power of the placebo effect..conditions from phobia,
    to allergies, to lack of intelligence, neurodermitis, smoking addiction have been miraculously cured.
    People also experienced some of the side effects that they were told can be caused by the sugar pills.

    That made me wonder why exactly doesn't that great effect work on me?

    Years ago my main problem was ADHS...which is pretty laughable compared to other stuff. I've been in a hospital to work on that. Spend half of the day there...talking to doctors all the time...the same impressive environment that usually supports the placebo.
    I tried a lot of different psychopharmaca...and being positive I always thought: "Thats the one...that'll help me. Sureley" but most of the medicine sucked. I developed side effects that nobody ever talked about...and the positive effects have been minor.
    One or two medicines had almost no effect. The one that finally worked was one Pill I never really trusted because it is used for other conditions.
    Also the majority of other people in my group (who had depressions) wasn't really helped by the medicine given. And talking to them most of them claimed they thought that this pill WILL help them.

    So...why didn't at least some Placebo effect kicked in
    To much doubt? Too complicated conditions? Bad luck?
    Whats your opinion?

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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    city of wine and roses
    Have a look at this report on a placebo versus known effective medication trial. Still more oversold placebo research from our old friend Ted Kaptchuk – Respectful Insolence

    This is about migraine medication rather than depression or other psycho-active medication, but the important point is here.

    This is entirely consistent with what I’ve been arguing for a long time, that the more “objective” or “hard” the endpoint (and, although there is still a subjective component, being pain-free is a harder endpoint than stating a pain score), the weaker any placebo effects observed are, to the point that the very “hardest” endpoints, such as tumor regression or survival, are not affected by placebo.

    None of this stops Kaptchuk from emphasizing the decrease in pain scores in the open label placebo group in his
    Science Fridayinterview but not mentioning that no more people were pain free in that group than in the no treatment group.

    Depression, anxiety and similar conditions are not as well understood as we would like and the medications available are very variable in their effectiveness from patient to patient. So if you're suffering from depression, the "hard endpoint" for any treatment is for that condition to be ameliorated or eliminated.

    Basically, you can't 'talk yourself out of' a metabolic condition if it's not amenable to self-talk. It doesn't mean that some talking therapies, like CBT as an example, won't work for depression. It does mean that you can't get out of that condition without using a well-evidenced therapeutic method. Telling yourself that you are getting better might work if you were just temporarily miserable because of a specific event and all you really needed was time to get over it. Anything would help in that situation. That's where a nice cup of tea or Aunt Winifred's famous chicken soup can be helpful.

    But if you need therapy and/or medication, that's what you need.

    Headdresser likes this.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    If snake oil did not sell, salesmen would have stopped selling it.
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