Placebo Effect Turning a Fake Medical Treatment into an Effective Real One!


People believe that the Placebo effect is an actual treatment or medication that can make them feel better. Actually, placebo is a look alike treatment designed to seem just like real without affecting the illness.

What is a Placebo?

A placebo can be a substance, treatment, injection, liquid, or a procedure that has been designed to affect the psyche or a person without actually affecting the illness itself.

What is the Placebo Effect?

The placebo effect can change how a person feels as it does not have any effect on the disease. When the symptoms change after getting a placebo, this is known as the placebo effect. Although the effect lasts only for short time, it is still thought to have some relation with body’s natural chemical ability.

However, a placebo may not always be suitable for people as it causes unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, nausea, constipation, and nervousness.

The negative side effects are often called as the nocebo effect. The combination of posititive and negative effects is known as expectation effect which generally means that the effects relate to what a person usually expects from the placebo.

The placebo effect works in relation to how a person believes in its working. If a person thinks it is going to work, placebo will change the symptoms to make him feel better without actually having any direct effect on the illness.

So, it is usually how a person perceives placebo and its effects on the body that makes all the difference.

How Does the Placebo Effect Work?

The placebo effect is about the degree of confidence a person feels from a particular act or visit to the doctor. The faith of the patient in a medicine or doctor can have positive effects on his well being and that is what placebo does.

Scientific studies have shown that the placebo effect exists and the mind has a connection with the body which makes it work so well. The effect of pain relief from placebo can be possible because of the release of endorphins which makes a person feel good and eventually forget pain and other symptoms.

These are the natural pain killers which make a person go painless through the mind and body connection only.


It is believed that the placebo effect is much more than the release of endorphins as more studies have revealed. It works on how an individual believes about a particular substance or treatment’s effectiveness.

If the expectation is positive and the patient believes a particular thing is going to work, it will actually work at least in the short term.


The conditioning effect was noticed when a group of people were given medicines for pain relieve and another group was not given any medicine. In the following days, both the groups were given placebo drugs ans the results were observed.

The group who had medicines before had the ability to tolerate more pain as compared to those who did not have the medicine. This can also be called as learned response as people had past experience of medicines.


The nocebo effect comes from the brain as it is noted that more pain is experienced by someone who is anxious than the one who is relaxed. Anxiety worsens the pain and that is what is observed in the brain imaging studies.

Mind-Body Connection

The mind and body connection has long time existence as there are many therapies solely based on this. Some ancient cultures believed that an illness can be cured through treatments based on the healing powers they had. It was their strong belief that made the treatment restore health.

Placebos are not cure to any illness as they do not have any effect on the illness but scientists have come to believe that it does have a positive effect on health by reducing certain painful symptoms.

Other Confusions with Placebo Effect

Placebos do not provide cure to any illness still they have a positive effect on health by reducing painful symptoms through the mind and body connection. It is because of the belief people have that the placebo will treat their illness and relieve pain.

Even if people do know about their medicine or procedure being a placebo, it can have positive effect on their health as they will still believe that they are being treated.

What Conditions Have Positive Effect of Placebo?

Certain conditions can have a positive impact even if people are told that they are given placebos. Depression, pain, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and menopause can be treated for the symptoms effectively through placebo effect.

The overall success of placebos depends on positive thinking as people tend to believe that they are under the right treatment which will give them relief from the symptoms.

As it is said that when there is hope, there is life. This saying works for the placebo effect as much as as people believe that they are going to benefit from it.

How Do Symptoms Change or Heal with Placebo Effect?

The dummy pills or treatment have been a controversial phenomenon as placebos cannot be always effective. However, this fake treatment can have a powerful and real response in some cases as the patient expects cure from the treatment.

Otherwise placebo is just a sugar pill that is inactive and cannot treat the illness itself.

The symptoms are influenced by placebo depending on certain factors including the nature of illness, the patient’s belief that the treatment will work, the patients expectation regarding the response of the treatment, doctor’s positive message about the treatment’s effectiveness, and genetic factor that may also influence a person’s response to the treatment.

Limitations of the Placebo Effect

Placebo effect is actually a fake treatment that cannot replace the real therapy at any cost. The formula that works foe placebo effect can also fail at times as the mind and body connection does not work in every situation which is why this effect should not be considered as a real treatment.

Bottom Line

Placebo and Placebo effect exists and has a positive effect in certain conditions although it cannot be relies upon for treatment. The positive thinking of a person can make the symptoms of an illness lessen at least for short term. This is how placebo works and science agrees that the effect has an impact on the body in some way.

On the other hand, placebo effect is a fake treatment which does not have enough evidence to prove its effectiveness. It cannot be considered as a real treatment as the mind and body connection may not always work.

Khadija Ahmad

An author at Ask Health News, Khadija has good experience in Health And Physical Education and delivers her research work to entertain readers. Her words reflect creativity and intellect as she succeeds in shaping them into interesting articles for readers. Email: khadija@askhealthnews.com

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