HORIZON :- The Power Of The Placebo.: Having read... - Headway


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HORIZON :- The Power Of The Placebo.

cat3 profile image

Having read through Negeen's post about coconut oil and the various responses, it reminded me of a HORIZON programme I watched last week. It's about the potential of the placebo for the treatment of a range of conditions, with emphasis on 'belief,' and the surprising power of that combination.

It was iforget who intimated that although there is no documented proof of the benefits of coconut oil, there could, if Negeen believes strongly enough, be a placebo effect. And according to the HORIZON programme, this effect shouldn't be underestimated.

For those of you who haven't seen it, I can promise you this is a very interesting and persuasive look at the growing belief in the power of the placebo. Look out for the item on a Parkinson's sufferer.

As usual you can catch it on BBCi player listed under HORIZON.

12 Replies

Hi Cat, This is a very interesting accent on our debate. How many people with Head Injuries are given placebo's? Maybe it's just another chance to get your brain working properly again.

Did you see it Phil ?

I have believed in the placebo effect for years. A long time ago I was on prozac for depression and it worked! I was changed onto the generic equivalent which just didn't work. Placebo in reverse???

cat3 profile image
cat3 in reply to Mikesghost

Yes, I believe that's exactly what it was. Years ago a friend & I were both taking the tranquilliser Valium and, when it was substituted for the generic equivalent (diazepam) I understood it was the same drug without the brand name and simply a matter of cost. But my friend was on the phone daily complaining that this 'new version' didn't work and she was really struggling with severe anxiety. I really was just guessing when I suggested she 'make friends with' and embrace the diazepam to make it work............and she did...........and it worked (so much so that she decided it was stronger & reduced the dosage.

Placebo effect ?..............without doubt.

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Hidden in reply to cat3

I asked for non-generic zolpidem (for sleep) recently and it doesn't work at all - nor did the generic. Rubbish both of them! Got given blue valium tab other day = didn't work at all. Have to try test the tabs under lots of different conditions coz might sleep anyway and think tab did it. Hard to now often unless take in day. Very frazzled today, freezing cold and exhausted, took half valium = didn't do anything at all, zilch, brain still on overdrive and still very anxious. The tabs (real or placebo?) not working. And yes, did believe in them. Need talking therapies/actual change at same time?!

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Hidden in reply to Mikesghost

I got prescribed cream for skin complaint, it worked well. Then NHS told GPs to prescribe only generics so he did: it was very runny/watery so had to use twice as much and because runny it didn't stay where you put it. So: think told GP waste of money, NOT a saving for NHS, insisted on real (not generic) and he put (had to to cover himself?) that/reason in my medical records. When NHS say must use generic (because cheaper) have they actually tested them because nobody after testing that generic versus real one would ever think of buying (NHS/our money) rather than far better, cheaper in real terms (use far less)? In other words that (and other?) generics may be lots of wasted money. Who tests generics to see whether as described? Only the company that makes them? Comparisons done with more expensive/original versions? Why can't make generics actually SAME (when they are said to be, a lie)? I don't understand.

I was given diazepam to help me sleep a few years back, it worked a treat and left me feeling so relaxed the following day, I could see how that could be addictive. I'm now on Zopiclone but only need one every few weeks, which is just as well as my doctor wont give me more than 14 at a time.

Yes they can be/are very addictive. I was on 50mg per day for years until they were re-classified & had to wean myself down.

I now take 1mg twice per day.

Did you see the beginning of the programme where placebos were given to cyclists as performance-enhancing drugs and one guy even beat his person best ?

It really illustrates what potential the mind has, to influence the body, when we're tricked into believing the influence is coming from elsewhere.

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Hidden in reply to cat3

I think encouragement,kind and constructive feed-back allows us to perform at our best. Influence is coming from elsewhere but helps us access our own resources. I think/feel. Living with just bad or no feed-back (in a vacuum or nightmare) hinders our SELF. We need to feel we belong, are accepted and get praise sometimes. We all know that and I try to praise/encourage others but right now I need it in return? Good results/outcomes would be a bonus.

Hi Eileen, I watched it yesterday, good programme, very useful this placebo effect, I find it's amazing what 2 paracetamol can do for me at times.

Thiese low pressure systems are creating havoc with my well being at the mo, I know it's nothing to do with the programme but I try to just ignore how I feel and get on with things, it works mostly.

Hope you are ok

Love Janet xxxx

Hello love. I'm glad you saw this, I find It really amazing that folk can be so influenced by something which, to all extents & purposes, turns out to be nothing ! (apart from one's own belief).

Sorry you're not feeling too well at present. Going to message you this evening......................


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I believe in placebo big-time! I know it's worked on me in the past. But when (after bungled op) GP and psychiatric nurse pushed antidepressants I knew they did not have my best interests at heart. I searched them (SSRIs) at that time (early 2006) and it was well described then that placebo (which most SSRIs are but with nasty side-effects including anxiety which I already had and bad sleep and yet more brain damage = already struggling with) works best if you trust who's prescribing it and believe they actually care for you - even as GP = paid to 'care'. yup, power of the mind, yes, I know that works, had used it lots in past but now have lost my mind, myself and dumped = 'in coventry' = just as I was sent to at a hospital I went to end 06/early 07 - when I answered how I got injured truthfully all of a sudden none of the docs/nurses would talk to me. As now, I tried to talk to them, get info and help but got dumped, again. Shame docs haven't got time now to make us feel looked after, too many patients and don't often know us well. But my 1st GP knew me very well and still decided to 'not see' what I now he did (including my eyes), write nonsense in my med records (and different from what he/I said) but he chose to refuse to tell me what hospital told him and refused to refer me as agreed. Too much to say but YES placebo - if it works and doesn't cause harm.

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