Restless Leg Syndrome

Just as shown in the first lecture, Restless Leg Syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by the frequent urge to move the legs, or other parts of the body that may feel painful or uncomfortable.  It can interfere with relaxation and especially as one tries to fall asleep.  The condition is unfortunately, a constant source of ridicule and satire which influences the perception of the condition and its seriousness.  If the culture in question does not take the condition seriously, it would have (and likely does have) negative implications on how it is professionally treated.  Such a condition is difficult to diagnose since it is not simply something that can be tested for, but relies heavily on the patients’ narrative.  Furthermore, the drugs used to treat the condition are not without a handful of harmful side effects.  In some cases, Restless Leg Syndrome can worsen and surface during new periods of the day.  Other drugs like diazepam (valium) can be prescribed as a sleep aid but also has potential for abuse by the user.  This goes to show that treating and even managing a subjective laden condition like RLS can be extremely difficult for the patient and the physician.

As suggested in the placebo film, there is a strong connection between belief and healing.  The first example of the placebo surgeries showed that there was no significant difference between the results from patients that received the placebo surgery and those that received the actual surgery that included the smoothing down of cartilage.  I find the same to be true for individuals that seek medical help and want something prescribed regardless of their situation.  They seem to just want something done, or something for them to blame their challenges fulfilling their social role on.  When something is prescribed, or a treatment is given, there seems to be an overwhelming positive change, regardless of whether their initial complaint is truly being treated or if they simply think it is.  This was the exact situation of the woman given placebo medication for her depression that seemingly healed herself through her belief that she was receiving the medication to treat her depression.

Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation, “Treatment Options.” Accessed July 26, 2013.

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