Placebo Effect

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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The Mysterious Placebo Effect A patient who has tried just about everything to remove a wart that bothered them went to the doctor's office and is prescribed an amazing new medicine that is able to remove warts. Suddenly the wart disappears. However the patient is unaware that what was given to them were nothing more than just a dye and some water. This is an example of what is known as the placebo effect.

A placebo is an inactive substance or a "fake"� surgery or therapy used in an experiment or given to a patient for its possible desired effect. The placebo effect occurs when the placebo, which cannot on its own merit have any affect, does in fact have the same or similar affect as the experimental substance or procedure, such as the example with the patients with the warts.

Another example of the placebo effect is an experiment done in which subjects are given measured doses of alcohol at certain time intervals and their responses are tested following each "drink"�.

To make sure nothing is causing any of the changes that may occur, it is necessary to have a "control group"�. They are treated the same way and they are given a beverage, which they believe to be alcohol. Those given alcohol, begin to show a change in response at some point. Some of the subjects who received the "placebo alcohol"�, which tasted and kicked like alcohol but was basically just water, began to act tipsy and sometimes drunk. Those in the control group whom exhibited these responses through the suggestion of drinking produced the placebo effect (Charles E. Henderson).

The placebo effect is believed by many to be a psychological effect caused by a belief. The psychological reason of the placebo effect is explained...