Yesterday, I wrote about the incredible confidence that people experienced after being given a ‘sugar pill’ that they believed was a real drug, crafted to eradicate fear in the patient.
Today, I want to mention the Yin to this Yang, the Nocebo effect.
In a nutshell, this is where a patient has negative symptoms and physical effects as a result of believing that they have a condition or that they’re worsening in some way.
We’ve all probably experienced this in some, small way. Just google your symptoms on a day when you’re feeling worse for wear. You’ll be manifesting the signs of a Brain Tumour before you know it. Or just do something that you’re terrified to do and notice how quickly you can bring on
And the Nocebo effect is just as powerful as its positive counterpart. Not long ago, I read up on the findings of a study whereby patients suffering from Depression were told that half of the group had been given a placebo while the other half had the real thing. The results? The drugs’ positive, depression-busting effects stopped working, even for the people who were taking the real medication. Why? They assumed that they’d been given the placebo and this belief was so strong that it actually cancelled out the effects of the drugs.
Yep – it’s kinda crappy that you can ‘bring on’ a load of horrible physical sensations as a result of your own (unconscious or conscious) thought processes and negative self-talk.
But it’s also incredible right?!
Your mind is so incredibly powerful that it can overwrite the effects of high-strength drugs.
Maybe having this in mind will inspire you to become a little more aware of your thoughts, beliefs and attitude; to perhaps be a little more careful at the kind of thoughts you allow to take root.