Placebo and Nocebo – your mind as the drug – benefits and harm.
Most people have heard of the placebo effect – you take a drug and because you expect it to work you feel better. Placebo is Latin for “I shall please”. Most clinical trials of drugs involve a control group who are given the placebo, an inactive “fake” drug, like a sugar pill. However they don’t know whether they are taking the “fake” drug or the “real” drug. A certain percentage of this group will have symptom relief even though they have not taken the active drug. In fact the placebo effect is thought to account for ~30% of the symptom relief in many medications and even higher in some. The critical factor at play is the belief in what is going to happen. The power of your mind.
The dark side
Unfortunately there is a flip side to the placebo effect and that is the lesser known nocebo effect. Nocebo is Latin for “I will harm”. Let’s consider the control group in a clinical trial again. Both the active group and the control group are given the same information on potential side effects like nausea, low blood pressure, headaches etc. A certain number taking the inactive drug will experience the side effects. All the result of a powerful mind now working against you.
So can you think yourself well?
Okay that maybe drawing a long bow but you do have more control over your physical wellbeing than you may think. Your thoughts and beliefs can affect your neurochemistry and this can affect other body systems, like your gut. Most people have had the experience of a nervous tummy, maybe before an exam or a job interview. Clearly there is nothing physically wrong with your gut but that logical knowledge is not stopping you running to the loo!
So how do you take “control” of your mind?
Hypnotherapy a vehicle for change
It’s clear that your conscious thoughts are not running the show. Otherwise you would just “stop it”. What in fact is happening is unhelpful thoughts are running at an unconscious level and it’s difficult to deal with these in general conversation. However as hypnosis produces an altered state of consciousness, changes in thought and perception can be achieved.
Placebo, nocebo with hypnosis the choice is yours.
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