The Advantages and Disadvantages of Placebos

The human mind is not explored to a great extent, and some issues remain quite controversial. For example, the placebo effects have been widely discussed in various scientific journals, but the physicians still cannot reach consensus about it. Some of them believe that self-suggestion has the healing effect while others opine that placebos are useless and cause only harm to human health. Undoubtedly, during the treatment, all pros and cons of placebos should be taken into consideration. Therefore, the essay discusses the notion of the placebo effect as well as its main advantages and disadvantages.

The concept of the placebo effect appeared about 300 years ago. Some physicians prescribed aspirin for their patients who suffered from tuberculosis presenting it as the latest effective medicines, though it was useless in reality. However, a real miracle happened: the patients began to recover. Therefore, the placebo effect was associated with self-suggestion. In fact, placebo is a substance that does not have any chemical treatment qualities but affects the patient’s recovery process positively.

It is believed that the placebo effect is based on the suggestion of a fast recovery directed at the patient’s confidence. The supporters of placebo believe that an individual should not take any special actions, they only must believe in themiraculous power of placebo, a simple daily pill or injection. As a result of auto-suggestion, the patient’s brain begins to send the signals of recovery, after which the body begins to produce substances that contribute to a speedy improvement of health. For example, if a patient suffered from pain but recovered after taking useless pills, his body already had enough resources to fight the illness. As for the other positive responses, the placebo effect enhances immunity, which also affects the healing process. Indeed, the placebo effect depends primarily on the condition of the nervous system, and it helps people who are more sensitive and more amenable to this emotional impact. Many physicians believe that taking placebos does not have any adverse side effects, but it has numerous benefits. For instance, in case a person needs a long-term drug treatment, it is possible to partially replace real medicine with placebo. The effect of the treatment will be preserved, and the toxic load on the internal organs will be reduced significantly. Undoubtedly, the human body has powerful natural recuperative functions and taking placebos can facilitate these processes effectively. Moreover, an individual’s positive attitude can greatly contribute to the treatment being measured by placebo.

Nevertheless, most doctors agree that even if placebo works eeffectively, there is no need to stop the usual treatment or refuse surgery. Faith is not enough for the effective treatment of the complex disease. As for the main disadvantages of placebo, the spontaneous improvement can be not only the result of taking placebos but also of some emotional disorder. In addition, the so-called “politeness effect” can be considered as a disadvantage of taking placebo. It means that the patient will tell the doctor about the benefits even when there are none. Undoubtedly, the person reacts positively to great news regarding their health. However, if the body is weakened by a disease, there may be no improvement without proper medication.

In conclusion, the power of suggestion clearly has a great impact on human health. There are various diseases, in treating which placebos can truly help. Usually, these diseases have psychological nature; however, placebos are almost useless when a patient suffers from a bacterial or viral infection. Undoubtedly, the outcome of the treatment greatly depends on the doctor and his persuasive skills. Patients should understand the process of treatment and their role in it. They need to realize that their efforts are necessary for the desired outcome: patients should be positive, listen attentively to what the doctor prescribes, and follow all recommendations carefully.

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