Placebos Proposition Fact Proposition Placebos Actual Benefits Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


Proposition Fact (Proposition: Placebos actual benefits patients) 1. You defend a proposition fact relevant significant a future proposition policy, argue values policies essay. IMPORTANT!! 2. The essay carefully strucutured standard parts a formal essay.

Proposition of Fact

Placebos can have actual benefits to patients

Placebos are sham or fake treatments that are given to patients, in place of actual treatment. A doctor can decide to issue this kind of treatment to a patient depending on a number of reasons. Placebos have become very common forms of treatments especially in schools and have been proven to be effective in many cases. The fact that placebos have been proven to be effective has led to many researches that are carried out to find out how they work, and to what extent they are effective Everitt, 2006.

Most of the researches have resulted to positive reports that the placebos do have actual benefits to patients. In support of this, this paper will highlight various tests and experiments that have been carried out on people to show that the placebos are effective. The paper will particularly highlight blind and double-blind trials that have been conducted to show how placebos have benefits to patients.

Key terms

The key terms to be used in this paper are placebos, actual benefits, and patient. As defined above, placebos are defined as shams or fake treatment given to patients in place of actual medication, but the expected results are that the patient gets relief just as the one actual medication was administered. Actual benefits can be defined as the results that a patient enjoys after a certain medication or treatment is given to them Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2010.

An actual benefit can be relief from pain or flu. A patient is a person who is not well and needs some medication. There are situations where a patient can be termed as being sick just because they have thought about and actually have internalized the idea of not being well. This is the basic idea on which the use of placebos is based. Therefore, so long as the patient has positive thoughts, the placebos are anticipated to have actual benefits on the patient.

Historical Background of the use of Placebos

In the ancient days, the Greek medicine and the humoral medicine that was used during the Middle Age era did not appreciate that use of words could cause or cure diseases. At the time, people did not also know that the mind and body were related and they could determine the general health being of a human being. The first placebo was administered to an individual who was a hypochondriac. The individual was given an empty enema, but the treatment proved effective to the individual. This happened back in 1580 and it marked the beginning of the use of placebos Physicians, 2008()

Several changes and improvements were made in medical research, but the researchers still did not appreciate the role that the brain played in the general health status of a human being. However, they did not fail to acknowledge that placebos were an effective form of treatment and this inspired more studies to define how the placebo works. The first medical scientist to apply the blind trial was Benjamin Franklin Shapiro & Shapiro, 2000.

Benjamin carried out to the test to show the power of hypnosis. In his test, Benjamin was able to show that by hiding a hypnotist behind a curtain, the subjects reacted based on what they thought was happening, and not what was actually happening. Following his findings, other several medical researches have been conducted since then to study conventional medicines Thompson, 2005()

In the present day, medical ethics suggest that a patient is told of the type of medication that is being administered to them. This is to get rid of the deceptive use associated with placebos. However, the ethics recognize the importance to build a good rapport with a patient, so as to ensure that there is a favorable environment from where a doctor can interact with their patient. A good environment influences positive results of the medication administered to a patient, be it placebo or actual medication Physicians, 2008()


The placebo effect can be described as an interaction of the body and mind resulting from treatment. If the body of the patient registers some changes after the administration of placebos, it is suggested that the change occurs only in the patient's mind Media ()

. This is the main observation and once it is made, one may separate the state of mind of the patient as a result of using the placebos. As a matter of fact, an encounter with a doctor can result to a particular state of mind. The state of mind can either be that one is expecting get well, or one feels safe around the health provider or any other psychological feeling that there may be. Hence, the modern definition of placebo effect that it is a change in a person's health status which results from the symbolic impact of a healing intervention.

There are certain psychological mechanisms that are said to contribute to the placebo effect. One is the expectancy and the other is conditioning. Expectancy can be defined as the act or state of believing that a positive change will occur in the body. On the other hand, conditioning is defined as the state of being in a situation that happened in the past where positive body change was recorded.

It has been evidenced that when a patient has expectations of getting pain relief, the body can produce endorphins, which are natural morphine-like chemicals present in the brain and they produce analgesia. In a past study, patients who were in pain after a surgery were injected with a narcotic painkiller into their intravenous tubing. The patients said they felt two times as much pain relief as when the same medication was administered to them but when hidden, meaning that the patients did not know that a drug had been administered to them. In the very way, if a drug that is known to negatively affect the benefits of endorphins, then the placebo effect can be reversed.

The issue on placebos is discussed in the present day since many doctors have appreciated that people may be in a sick state due to a number of reasons. The doctors have also recognized that there is a strong connection between the body and mind, and so long as the mind is tuned to function in a particular way, then the effect is felt on the whole body. There are studies that have been carried out to test the effect of placebos on patients, and if it really is true that the placebos do have real positive effects on patients Hadden & Anchorage, 2007.

The most common of the experiments are the blind trials and the double trials. With the changes in technology, the experiments keep getting more advanced and detailed but so far, it has been evidenced that the placebos do have a positive impact on patients.

Blind Trials

For the blind trials, substances that look like sugar pills are used and are administered to patients who are not aware of the kind of treatment that they are getting. Patients do not know whether they are receiving fake or actual treatment. This is intentionally done to avoid creating certain expectations that may favor one side of the results leading to physical interruptions of the test. The placebos have been proven effective in most of the cases.

The placebos are not the only thing that is used to carry out the blind trials. Blind trails are done to test the effectiveness of prayers, the effectiveness of fluorescent bulbs on headaches, as well as mock surgeries. There are certain surgery techniques that are carried out to pass as real surgery operations and most have been proven to be successful.

Double Trials

For this kind of trials, both the patients and the doctors dealing with specific patients are not made aware of the kind of treatment. This is based on the fact that a doctor's belief in the quality or value of medication or any other form of treatment can affect the way they behave when around a patient Howick, 2011.

A double-blind study carried out to test the effectiveness of antidepressants shows that for patients who were given placebos, only 30% of them committed or attempted suicide. For the patients who were given actual treatment, suicide cases reported reduced by 40%. This shows that the placebos are as effective just like actual treatment is. The only setback in these tests is that they do not include a group of patients who go untreated, and so the results can be in one way not fully comprehensive or complete.

Importance of Placebos in Research

Both doctors and patients would want to benefit from a new type of treatment that does not have many side effects or one that is cheaper.…

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