How does placebo actually work, medically ?

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Like how does the pill translate to feeling well in reality just through imagination /perception of the problem being solved / altered .

In: Biology

9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It mainly relies on a person’s *subjective* perception of their current health, and the fact that they don’t know that they have taken a placebo. The result is that a person expects something to happen, and then manage to convince themselves that something did happen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your brain is constantly constructing your reality … all the time. Things you cannot sense… play no part in your perception. Pain is pain. It’s ALL in your head. The question is where it comes from… Does it come from an injury or does the pain itself *originate in the brain*?

So if you honestly believe the pain is about to go away… and it’s a mentally constructed pain to begin with… it’ll go away.

Not all pain is real, even if it feels real.

It’s like having a wrong understanding. It feels a lot like having a correct understanding.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A placebo doesn’t actually do anything. The point of a placebo is so that you have something to compare real medicine against to see if the real medicine is doing anything.

You have two groups of people. You give one group the placebo and one group the test medicine. If both groups heal about the same amount, it means the medicine didn’t really help.

There is this thing called the “placebo effect” which is just when a person who believes they have gotten real medicine starts to feel better. This is generally just the person attributing normal bodily healing to the placebo instead of their immune system.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A Nobel prize awaits for the person who figures it out. If we knew we could exclude the placebo effect from medical studies and make better medicine.

There are many theories about what might cause placebo effects, Wikipedia has a good overview of them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo

Anonymous 0 Comments

It depends what you’re talking about. Taking pain as an example, there is emerging evidence that we make our own painkillers in our body naturally if we believe we’re taking a painkiller medication, and this tells specific parts of our brain and body that we are not in pain.

Source: [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16120776/](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16120776/) (this is all fancy medical wording for “when people took placebo, very specific parts of areas of the brain/body are activated by our own, naturally-made chemicals” with an understanding that these are the same very specific parts that opioids act on)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Placebo’s can work because of the self fulfilling prophecy. Someone who thinks they’re getting better will feel happier and thus, live a healthier lifestyle. Someone that feels hopeless about their medical condition will feel more depressed and more likely to self destruct with negative coping mechanisms like drinking or laying at home all day

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think the placebo effect is often misunderstood. The placebo effect doesn’t work on a medical condition that can be objectively measured. If you get cancer no form of placebo will help. The placebo effect applies to aspect that cannot be objectively measured such as pain.

Here’s a link that explains it better than I can https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect

Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine you have a magic sugar pill that doesn’t have any real medicine in it. But when you take it, because you believe it will help you feel better, sometimes it actually does make you feel better. That’s because your brain is really powerful and can sometimes trick your body into feeling less pain or getting better just because you think you took real medicine. This magic sugar pill is called a placebo. So, the placebo works because your brain believes in it and helps your body feel better.

Anonymous 0 Comments

there’s other factors that they’re trying to account for when they give people placebos, like regression to the mean (ie people who were feeling better/worse than average gradually returning to the “average” state). basically it’s to control for a bunch of factors that can affect the outcomes of a trial – and it’s not the only thing they do to control for these factors