Monday, 17 August 2015

The ABCs - N is for Nocebo

*The term 'nocebo'was coined in 1961 by Walter Kennedy. 'Nocebo' means 'I shall harm'. It is the opposite of 'placebo'. The term 'placebo' means 'I shall please'.

*taken from HERE

In the medical sense, a 'nocebo reaction' is where a **drug-trial subject's symptoms are made worse by the administration of a placebo. It is entirely due to the subject's pessimistic belief and expectation that the drug that was given would produce harmful, injurious, unpleasant or undesirable consequences.

**taken from HERE

***A 'placebo reaction' or 'placebo effect' on the other hand is a stimulated medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or medical condition.

***taken from HERE

It is interesting to note that despite no 'real' drugs were used, patients do manifest in unpleasant, injurious, undesirable biochemical, physiological, behavioral, emotional and cognitive consequences. The 'nocebo effect' was identified during pharmaceutical trials. ****Subjects were observed to exhibit undesirable effects even though they were not given any medication except a placebo!

****taken from HERE

*****An interesting case to note is "Mr. A" who suffered from depression. His doctor Roy Reeves reported this case in 2007. He swallowed a whole bottle of pills and then regretted his decision on suicide. He rushed to the ER, collapsed at the reception, his BP plunged, and hyperventilated. All blood tests could show no trace of drugs in his system.

Finally, four hours later, another doctor informed Roy Reeves that 'Mr. A' had been in the placebo arms of a drug trial and he had overdosed on SUGAR TABLETS! 'Mr.A' soon recovered upon hearing the 'good news'.

*****taken from HERE

Bottom line is, our mind is a powerful tool/weapon indeed!

Click on Induced Illness to read more on nocebo effect.

Click on Media reports may trigger symptoms of a disease.

Click on The Thought That Could Kill You.


  1. I think that's typical of conventional medicine to tell people they are making it up. My question would be what was in the placebo? What fillers? "Sugar tablets" indicate the pill was in a tablet form so it couldn't have been just sugar to hold it all together. And then when did Mr. A "soon" recover? After he stopped taking them? Or was it a capsule? What is the capsule made with? I am allergic to pine, but no doctor has ever asked me this. The most commonly used filler for a variety of products, including pills is microcrystalline cellulose or the trade name Avicel. It's made with pine. You can't imagine how many doctors and pharmacists who have told me it's safe for EVERYONE. Finally, as an afterthought, one pharmacist added, "Well, unless you are allergic to pine." Recently my doctor told me capsules made from vegetables are more likely to use Avicel to hold it together. Who would have known? It's not like you get a list of ingredients on the prescription.

    And then there are genetic mutations. My genetic mutations claim I should never go near folic acid although for years no one could tell me why multi-vitamins made me incredibly ill. I must have been crazy to think a synthetic, chemical-filled multi-vitamin would make me sick. Or the genetic mutation I have that says I should stay away from B12. But B12 is good for EVERYONE!? I must be crazy.

    So my point is, Girl Alive, your blog post is promoting the narrow-minded mindset of conventional medicine that claims everyone is the same and if you are chemically sensitive for whatever reason and are reacting to pills, you are crazy!

    Granted, there are crazy people out there, but our medical system fails them as well!!! Mental illness is the easiest diagnosis when no one has answers. Doctors are just too lazy to figure out the real problem and it's much easier to blame it on the brain because NO ONE really knows how the brain works. Such an easy scapegoat!

    1. It's just a point to ponder that our mind is a powerful tool. And it can play a vital role in our life.