The general public is in the unknown about this, but specialists have been knowing for a long time: the Placebo effect works both ways, and perception can heal as much as it can make you sick, depending on what your expectations are.
The reverse placebo even has a fancy name: Nocebo.
Yet no one has asked yet how this plays out when over 1 billion people are home-detained because of a virus.
A study published in the Feb. 16, 2011, issue of Science Translational Medicine shows dramatic differences between the test group and the Nocebo group: “Bingel’s researchers studied the “nocebo” effect—when patients believe they are not receiving medication by are—by lying and telling the volunteers that they were going to stop receiving the drug and that they might start to feel more pain once more. Immediately, the pain levels the volunteers reported feeling rose rapidly again to an average of 64 points, despite the fact that the researchers continued to administer the same level of the painkiller.”
One year later, here comes crushing evidence that scientists know of Nocebo, but criminally overlook it. The Smithonian Mag reports:
“Researchers from the Technical University of Munich in Germany published one of the most thorough reviews to date on the nocebo effect. Breaking down 31 empirical studies that involved the phenomenon, they examined the underlying biological mechanisms and the problems it causes for doctors and researchers in clinical practice. Their conclusion: although perplexing, the nocebo effect is surprisingly common and ought to be taken into consideration by medical professionals on an everyday basis.”
Many people call it “reverse Placebo”, but that’s not entirely accurate. Nocebo is not related to medical treatments only, anything can trigger it, even superstitions. That’s how spells and witchcraft appear to work sometimes.
<<It’s not exactly a reverse placebo effect. A placebo effect is a real improvement in the condition of a patient, which the doctor does not believe was caused by the treatment. Webster’s “improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used”.
A nocebo effect is a negative effect on the condition of the patient, which the doctor does not believe was caused by “what the patient sees as the cause”. Webster’s “the development of adverse side effects or worsening in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to medical treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used”.
In historical discussions of nocebo effect are often cases of voodoo or witchcraft. No medical treatment is required. Eg. A witch doctor puts a spell on a person, who then falls ill and might even die – even though the doctor does not believe the spell could have any real effect>>, in the words of Tracy Kolenchuk, Author of “The Elements of Cure”
Scientists, but more so media and politicians, need to start assessing the price and consequences of the total life-disruption they’ve caused lately, and, among many other things, they have to consider what toll will Nocebo take from public health. Because the expectations they’ve created are the closest thing to the end of the world. They made it impossible to realistically expect better things than what we had before Coronavirus. And many people had it hard even back then. I can’t imagine a scenario favoring poverty, nocebo and a trove of avoidable diseases more than the global Covid-19 hysteria. No disease can compete to what our ignorance is doing to us.
To be continued?
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them