How Placebos Work

It's amazing that a sugar pill can sometimes "fix" an ailment. Placebos are often prescribed, and sometimes to great therapeutic effect. Sometimes the simple act of believing you're going to get better can actually make you get better. Though the placebo throws a physician's honesty into question, many patients make lasting improvements with its aid.

Recent Posts on Placebo

Can You Get Drunk Off of Water?

Don't blame it on the alcohol! Blame it on your expectations about drinking.

Resolving Social Conflict Between Familiar Cats

Cats may abruptly begin fighting with a cat they have known for years. Other times, a cat may dislike a new cat from the very first introduction. Have you ever had cats that did not get along? Please share your cat’s story and how you resolved the problem of quarreling kitties.

Antidepressant Superstition

By Jonathan Shedler PhD on February 10, 2015 in Psychologically Minded
Why do people become dependent on drugs that are no more effective than sugar pills?

Dogs Can't Cure Cancer

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 10, 2015 in Animals and Us
How much do cancer patients benefit from playing with therapy dogs before their radiation or chemotherapy treatments? There's good news and bad news...

The Missing Link Between Psychology and Biology

By Warren W Tryon Ph.D. on February 10, 2015 in The Missing Link
How does psychology influence biology? How does biology influence psychology? Read on to find an answer.

A New Drug Treatment for Binge-Eating Disorder

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on February 04, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
On January 30, 2015, the FDA approved the use of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) to treat binge-eating disorder (BED) in adults. This is the first medication ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of BED. But before you run out to your nearest physician to get your prescription, here are some things to know.

Herbal Aphrodisiacs Excite More Than the Imagination

By Michael Castleman M.A. on February 01, 2015 in All About Sex
Do traditional herbal aphrodisiacs work? Quite possibly yes.

Colds - A New Approach to Treatment

Medical care does not do much to stop or treat colds. The Regeneration Health approach can change that around.

Potential of Psilocybin in Mental Health Therapy

Over the past 50 years, tens of millions of people have used entheogens, yet there just is not much scientific evidence on either positive or negative long-term effects of these substances. The classical psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, etc.) are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive.

Health Benefits of Resveratrol: New Plaudits

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on January 25, 2015 in Memory Medic
If you could only take one pill, would this be the one?

Hey Doc, Were You a History Major?

Medicine, History and You. You have your history, and your doctors have theirs. How does this all come together to give you better care.

Laughing Gas as a Treatment for Depression?

Nitrous oxide (aka “laughing gas”) is an anesthetic and analgesic often administered by dentists to minimize discomfort during dental procedures. Investigators recently reported that this drug may be helpful in treating severe depression.

The Crisis of Confidence in Medical Research

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 12, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
Randomized placebo controlled studies have been the gold standard in medical research, but some believe they have been so corrupted by Pharma that they cannot be trusted.

Why You Need to Feed Your Hunger for Contact

Scientists prove what humans knew all along, hugs heal.

Smiling Again with Laughing Gas

By Mark Borigini M.D. on January 05, 2015 in Overcoming Pain
And so, maybe it is time to look at what we already have: Although ketamine has gained interest in recent years as a rapidly acting potential therapy for treatment refractory depression, researchers say an even better option may lie in another well-known agent with a similar mechanism of action ― nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. (Image from Google.)

There's No Back Pain Surgery Can't Make Worse

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 03, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
Surgeons are too quick to operate on back pain and doctors are to quick to prescribe dangerously addicting opioids. Much better bets are rehab exercises and mindfulness.

Vitamin D and Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

New study examines vitamin D supplementation and its effects on symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Tinder, Accessibility and Geo-Locating Love

From the irrelationship perspective, showing up for love with an open heart and mind—giving ourselves and each other a chance to set ourselves aflame one swipe at a time—might very well be among the most essential strategies for pulling a fast one on the psychological defenses that we use to keep ourselves distant from those who threaten our hearts with real relationship.

The Globalization Of Attention Deficit Disorder

By Allen J Frances M.D. on December 22, 2014 in DSM5 in Distress
Mental disorders have become a global commodity. A diagnostic fad heavily promoted first in the US now quickly spreads around the world. Parents must protect their kids from the drug company promoted flood of massive ADHD over diagnosis and over treatment.

Clarify Three Misunderstandings about Acupuncture

In spite of increasing acceptance and varied use of acupuncture for treating pain and other ailments in the United States, there are still at least three misunderstandings about the practice and its mechanisms, which are typically found in some news reports about acupuncture (Sun, 2014a). Clarifying the misunderstandings also has implications for psychology.

Mindfulness, CBT and ACT for Chronic Pain Part Two

By Howard Schubiner M.D. on December 08, 2014 in Unlearn Your Pain
This blog attempts to explain how mindfulness meditation, CBT and ACT can be useful for patients with chronic pain as adjuncts to a mind body approach. This approach was originally developed by Dr. John Sarno and is described here.

Mindfulness, CBT and ACT for Chronic Pain

By Howard Schubiner M.D. on December 08, 2014 in Unlearn Your Pain
Although mindfulness meditation has been shown to positively impact brain functioning and improve anxiety and depression, it has not been as effective for chronic pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are similar in this regard. This blog offers a view of how these interventions can be most useful for patients with chronic pain.

Placebo Effect in Dogs

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on December 08, 2014 in The Teenage Mind
Placebos have been found to reduce barking, scratching, and crying when dogs are separated from their owners.

Does Your Child Have a Mental Disorder?

By Eric R. Maisel Ph.D. on December 08, 2014 in Rethinking Psychology
The nine questions that parents should ask themselves and others before agreeing with a "professional diagnosis" that their child has a "mental disorder."

Breathing Exercises: Counterproductive for Flight Anxiety

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on December 05, 2014 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
Almost every article by psychologists on flight anxiety recommends the use of breathing exercises. Why haven't these professionals looked at the research?

Microbiotal Transplant: Latest Weight Loss Secret?

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 in Obesely Speaking
A real solution or another "Exercise in a Bottle"?

“Magic Mushrooms” Might Be More Magic Than We First Thought

In 1960, two promising young psychologists at Harvard, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, began to explore the effects of psychotropic substances on the human mind.

Up & Away: Jet Lag Upset, Ugh! Jet Lag Solution, Whew!

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on November 29, 2014 in Chronotherapy
Flying away may be your fantasy: the excitement of a fresh environment, relief from stress, the escape from bad weather and the blues. Or you just have to travel for work, and would rather be home. The challenge either way is jet lag, with disrupted sleep and concentration, and physical distress. The brain's inner clock holds the explanation, and is key to the solution.

Reduce ADHD Symptoms Naturally With These Five Steps

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on November 16, 2014 in Mental Wealth
Does research support the use of natural methods for treating ADHD? Here are five evidence-based suggestions for tackling the poor focus and disorganized behavior that are part and parcel of this disorder.

Eat Spinach, Lose Weight?

Eating spinach made Popeye strong but adding this spinach extract to your drink may help you curb cravings and lose weight.