The Powerful Placebo Effect

 (Psychological Effects)

The Powerful Placebo EffectThe powerful placebo effect – It’s probably impossible to separate the pure physiological effects of any treatment from the psychological effects that accompany it. These psychological effects are commonly called The Placebo Effect.

A lot of research evidence seems to suggest that a considerable amount of any drug effect found from the use of antidepressants drugs is attributable to placebo effects.

Contrary to popular misconceptions a placebo effect is not the same as no effect.

Let me make it clear before we go any further; the powerful placebo effect is not nothing! I can assure you of this because I’ve researched the role of placebo effects with all mental health problems especially in relation to depression and antidepressants so let’s look at this first…

 The Antidepressant solution

A lot of research evidence seems to suggest that a considerable amount of any drug effect found from the use of antidepressants drugs is attributable to placebo effects.

As I said before, placebos are not nothing!

 So what are they? They’re the powerful psychological forces of expectation and hope amalgamated into a compound that embodies the belief that they will be effective.

It may surprise you to know that all treatments for depression incorporate placebo effects because the pain of depression seeks a remedy.  While the unique power of symbolisation possessed of our brains creates hope, anticipation, and the faith that something must work to alleviate the pain of depression.

The human brain is so powerful at creating a virtual reality simulation of the world that our motivation to feel better can be engaged and harnessed through imagination. Yes, really!

We can imagine that we can feel better and the antidepressant or whatever other treatment we choose is the vehicle to take us to this better place.

 Hope has immense power; profound and powerful placebo effects have been recorded.

If you want to learn more about the placebo response and the mind boggling effects that can be achieved with placebo take a look at this film:

If you have a deeper interest in antidepressant meds and the powerful placebo effects which are associated then this short film of Dr Irving Kirsch Ph.D explodes the commonsense beliefs that antidepressants are really powerful antidepressant meds as opposed to mostly a placebo cure wrapped up in relatively unpleasant and side effect producing compounds.

To be fair Dr Kirsch has encountered criticism for his book. Nevertheless he is not the first, by any means, to make these claims and there are plenty of published research reports that show similar or ‘close enough’ effects between an antidepressant and a placebo to lend substantial weight to his overall argument.

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Natural Treatments for Depression

The holy grail of natural treatments for depression surely has to be something without side effects, that’s easy to use and has long term benefits. We often assume that natural treatments for depression fit more easily into this category but do they?


The problem is that when we look at the claimed beneficial compounds of these treatments very few appear to have actual ‘active ingredients,’ although all will undoubtedly have placebo (psychological) effect benefits, to a greater or lesser degree.

In this section I’ll talk you through the effect of a number of natural treatments for depression by considering how the psychological aspects combine with the ‘active ingredient.’

You may be surprised to learn as you read on that in many cases the psychological effect of these treatments is greater than the active ingredient. This opens up the possibility for the determined investigator to figure out how to harness the psychological effects and use them without the active ingredient to yield the ultimate in natural treatments for depression!

But first there is a natural treatment for depression that appears to yield clinical benefits over and above the psychological effects that accompany it…

St John’s wort for depression

St-Johns-wort-for-depression-1You’ve likely heard that one of St John’s wort uses is to treat depression but do you know what it is? St John’s wort is actually an extract of the plant Hypericum perforatum and it has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes which includes the treatment of depression. As a preparation it is widely available in health food shops and over the counter in pharmacies.

Antidepressant meds: The most common treatment for depression

As this section is about natural treatments for depression I will not be commenting on antidepressants per se, but I wanted to show you that much of the benefits of antidepressants (many gain valuable benefits from them) are available to you without taking the antidepressant itself. Hence no side effects! But you have to acquire a little knowledge to unlock this mysterious power. The power of placebo!

The powerful placebo effect (psychological effects)

The Powerful Placebo EffectSurely the most natural treatments for depression are those that originate within your own body. They have no side effects, no toxicity, no autoimmune issues, no natural limit on effectiveness and no fundamental cost. Furthermore they have all the power you could possibly want or need to combat depression. The only admittance criteria to use these powerful treatments are you have to want to use them. I think it is quite possible to use some elements of any placebo response as part of your goal to good mental health.

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