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The Placebo Effect Commentary Essay

702 words - 3 pages

The placebo effect is the notion that one is cured or healedas a result of merely seeking the medical advice of a doctor,taking a sugar pill, or even using alternative medicine (Brown,1998). There are several ways in which to measure theeffectiveness of a placebo as well as evidence to support thehypothesis, although there is controversy in how to administerthe placebo.In order to measure the placebo effect one must have aminimum of two separate groups. To efficiently measure theeffects of a placebo treatment one should conduct a blind study,wherein neither party is informed of which group is the placebo.One group receives the placebo and is not instructed that theyare the placebo group. While the other group is given a proposedtreatment. Once the data has been collected, the overallconsensus is then ...view middle of the document...

The study consisted of individuals who were instructed that thebeverage they were given contained alcohol. During the study, itwas noted that the subjects, "....often felt and actedintoxicated and even showed some of the physiological signs ofintoxication," (Brown, 1998).The results of the above mentioned study are astonishing.How is it that the individuals exhibited physiological signs ofintoxication? The notion of this study is that the mind is awareof the effects an actual alcoholic beverage would present andcreates an intoxicating reaction. This is amazing because therewere no contaminants that would cause those reactions, yet theystill occurred. From that observation, one could conclude thatthe individuals believed that the alcohol was causing them tofeel or act differently as if intoxicated. This then can leadone to believe that the mind is connected to the physiologicalreactions.In addition, there has been much controversy as to how touse the placebo and if it is therapeutically ethical. I believeit is unethical to deliberately place a patient in an environmentthat is unbeknownst to them. Rather, as Brown states, it is morelogical to give a patient the option as to how to treat theirailment. Discussing other alternative medicines allows thepatient to be in control and aware of the treatment they arereceiving. It also initiates a trust and rapport with themedical professional and patient. In doing so, a patient mayappreciate and take suggestions more seriously with confidence.This in turn will then allow the doctor to present alternativemedicine use as an ample treatment as well as a placebo.In essence, the placebo effect has been proven useful forseveral different conditions. It is however, controversial inthe medical field as far as treatment is concerned. Although itmay not be for all patients, it is a suggestion that a physiciancan propose.Reference:Brown, W. A. (1998). The placebo effect. Science American, 90-95.

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