What is the "placebo effect," and how does it relate specifically to alternative medicine?

Expert Answers info

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

A placebo effect occurs when a treatment or medication with no therapeutic value (a placebo) is administered to a patient and the patient's symptoms improve. The patient believes and expects that the treatment is going to work, therefore it does. The placebo effect is also a factor to some degree in clinically effective therapies, and explains why patients respond better than others to treatment despite similar symptoms and illnesses.

The placebo effect takes place when a patient is given treatment of medicine (often called a “sugar pill”) which has no actual therapeutic value, but the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1,187 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write3,996 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

udonbutterfly | Student

The"placebo effect," describes a group of subjects that are placed in a control group to see the side effects of medicine or in other cases behavior patterns. In the "placebo effect," subjects are usually given a medicine that has no effects, in some cases sugar pills or water pills, where they are told that the medicine will be used to treat an ailment. There are times when the subjects believes that they have gotten better with the pill when in reality the pill had no effect at all. In alternative method maybe the placebo effect is able to act as a type of mental health therapy.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
parama9000 | Student

The Placebo effect is basically a simulated and medically ineffective for a disease or condition and is intended to deceive the patient. Patients might or might not see evidence of the Placebo effect, depending on how the placebo treatment is deployed upon the patient.

Firstly, it is interesting to note that the Placebo effect has the keyword "placebo", which in Latin means "I please". This literally means that the Placebo effect is a psychological treatment of convincing the patient that he is or will get better as a result of taking a medication in most cases, with the medication being inert most of the time, and the Placebo effect thus leads to a therapeutic effect on the patient, thus making the person feel better, "pleasing" the person in that sense.

However, it is not scientifically proven that the Placebo effect does actually cure a condition, but it has been shown that the effect does medically result in an improvement in the condition of the person, thus it is considered to be an "alternative medicine", which is sadly not taught at medical schools or used in conventional practices.

CaitlynnReeves | Student

The Placebo effect is a phsychological term used to describe the effects of recieving a non-treatment. By that I mean that a patient or subject is given a treatment and told it is a cure for an ailment when actually it is not. It can be applied to alternative medicine because, while the treatment in question may not be clinically proven to resolve symptoms the patient feels a change anyway. In essence the patient heals themselves without realizing it.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
Yojana_Thapa | Student

Placebo effect is a fake treatment that seems to be a real treatment. It can be a pill, it has nothing in it to cure you. For example, if some were to have a back pain and was administered a placebo they would most likely report improvement. Placebo effect is an aspect of human physiology that is just a belief that a treatment or pill is curing them.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial