Essay On Placebos

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Definition and Use of Placebos

A placebo is defined as a treatment (a pill, an injection or surgery) that seems to be real, but is in reality ineffective. Placebos do not contain any active substances meant to affect health. Well-known placebos consist of sugar, distilled water or saline solutions.

Placebos are mainly used as a control for the testing of new medicines or medical treatments. The use of placebos allows researchers to understand the effect a new medicine or treatment will have on a certain condition. By comparing the results of the actual treatment to the results of the placebo, researchers can determine the effectiveness of the new medicine and check for possible side effects.

What is the Placebo
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If a patient expects to gain benefit from the treatment, the more likely they are to actually experience benefits. If a patient expects a treatment to have an effect, the mind can “convince” the body that those effects are taking place and results similar to those of actual medications can be found. Part of the effectiveness of placebo treatment come as a result of trust in authority figures, such as parents or doctors. The higher the cost of a placebo treatment the more likely patients are to respond positively to it, because in the human mind, higher costs grant credibility.

The Effect of Placebos on the Human Body

Although it has been thought that the effects of placebos are purely psychological, research shows that placebos can also have remarkable physiological effects.

Physiological effects of placebos can include the rapid increase of pulse rate, increased blood pressure, and improved reaction times. An opposite effect can also be observed when patients believe that they are given sedatives. Patients with sleeping disorders like insomnia might find it remarkably easier to fall asleep.
Placebos are usually not harmful to the human body, nor does it intervene with, or weaken, bodily function.

Examples of the Placebo Effect

• A doctor’s verbal reassurance that you will feel better soon can lead to patients actually healing at record speeds, without taking any
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