THE NOCEBO EFFECT

Nocebo or placebo, it has very little to do with the sugar pill.
What were you expecting?


Research has proven that there is a link between patients expectations for recovery and health outcome. Extensive investigation has been concerned with the placebo effect. In which patients experience a heal-inducing effect in experiments when they believe they are getting a fancy new drug or surgery but are actually receiving fake treatment.  This was termed placebo which is Latin for (I will please) by Walter Kennedy in 1961. Walter Kennedy  explained that the more expectation that the treatment will help brings about a diminution of symptoms even if the patient is given a sugar pill.This knowledge has been helpful not just clinically but also helping people realise that beliefs, and expectations can shape our reality.


I'm told that the treatment I'm undergoing has severe side effects: What happens when I believe that I'm doomed?' 


This brings me to an equally effective phenomenon, "the Nocebo effect"which is sometimes reffered to as "placebos evil twin" or the "negative placebo effect". To illustrate this Lisa Rankin author of "Mind over medicine: scientific proof that you can heal yourself" in an article she wrote for psychology today sited an experiment in which patients who were convinced of their impending death were compared to another group of patients who were merely "usually apprehensive about death". In the experiment those who were apprehensive fared pretty well and those who were convinced they were going to die usually did. The term Nocebo was also coined by Walter Kennedy which is Latin for "I will harm" as the counterpart of placebo. 
It's not voodo if it can be explained.


The nocebo effect is probably most obvious in voodo death  when a person is cursed, told they will die and then dies. The notion of voodo death doesn't just apply to witch doctors in tribal cultures, literature shows that patients that were believed beterminal who are mistakenly informed that they have only a few months to live have died within their given tie frame, even when autopsy findings reveal no physiological explanation for their early death. In medicine the term is "medical hexing"


The effect of the sugar pill
In the clinical setup its been proven that people react differently to the sugar pill or fake treatment. Kennedy claimed that the Nocebo reaction was subject orientated and that the term "nocebo reaction" specifically reffered to a quality that was inherent in the patients rather than in the remedy (Kennedy,1961).Steward Williams and Podd (Stewart williams & Podd 2004) raised a point that the same treatment (substance) can produce analgesia and hyperalgesia. Analgesia is placebo and hyperalgesia is nocebo by definition. 


This placebo and Nocebo phenomenon don't just apply when one finds themselves fighting for their lives in a hospital bed. It's useful to know in every day life that what you put into your head will show up as expected. Zig ziglar author of "See you at the top, a check-up from the neck up"  put it as garbage in =garbage out.  We need to guard our minds fiercely and not let negative beliefs and expectations take home in our thoughts. We all have a chance of changing our circumstances, but it starts with changing what we tell our selves, our beliefs and our expectations. It's our inner worlds that affect our reality or rather our perception of reality. Choose  now to have the final say over your health, relationships, finances , carreer and education because you are the placebo.