When it comes to a medical condition where Placebos are readily used, I chose Depression. Depression runs in my family and I can see what it’s done to some of my extended family members. Depression is a well-known mental disorder, but I think many fail to realize the significant impact on various aspects of an individual’s life. Before I knew what depression really was, I always thought that a person just had to be happier, or that something significant happened in their life that they had to “get over.” This lack of realization translates into cultural misunderstanding as to what depression is, which can give it a negative stigma and make a person diagnosed with depression feel as if they’re trapped with no other options.

When watching the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” the doctors and researchers all agreed that the procedures and “song and dance” are what make the placebo effect so effective. This being said, a negative social stigma associated with depression can only worsen the symptoms of depression themselves, according to the placebo effect. With the use of antidepressants and SSRIs, depression can be overcome – and society knows that.

Society can play both a positive and negative role in the treatment of depression, and any other physical or mental disorder for the matter. It knows that there is a negative stigma associated with depression, but also knows that there are consistent and reliable methods of curing depression, which can put patients with depression at ease, having a positive impact on treatment. I believe society’s knowledge and confidence with antidepressants and SSRIs can help facilitate the effectiveness of a placebo that’s been prescribed to a patient with depression in place of the actual drug itself. Just as in “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” the placebo pill cured a woman of her depression and was shocked to find that she was given a placebo for the duration of her treatment. I believe this shows the strong correlation between culture, biomedicine, and a medical condition and how they can all be important factors in the healing process.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Anya Odabasic says:

    I love that you wrote about depression because it also runs in my family and I have also seen its damaging affects. I think a lot of people are resistant to accepting the fact that they may be depressed which contributes a lot to the misunderstanding of the condition. It can be very debilitating thing to deal with. Not only have I seen it first hand but my mother is also a Psychiatrist so I have always just had a lot of knowledge, I guess you could say, about “brain diseases” which is sometimes hard for people to wrap their heads around.

    I believe depression is an illness but I also believe it can be cured with things other than just medicine. If a condition, disease, or what have you is part of your life, you need to make the treatment for that condition part of your life as well. Choices need to be made as to how to treat this, basically treating with pills or taking a holistic approach to treatment. Since I view it as something that could reoccur I would rather take the holistic approach. And who knows, maybe you will better other aspects of your life throughout the process. Eating better, exercising more, talking to therapists, spending more time with family and friends: a lot more than just helping your depression is happening there. I would have to say my preference to a more healing treatment came from my parents. My dad has always hated taking pills for a headache and my mom is all about the “taking care of yourself first, drink water and lay down before going to the doctor” kind of mentality. Plus being a phsycian herself, doctor visits were only for the extreme in my childhood. Other than that I feel like I was raised in a very different culture than my friends and a different mentality. I do get a lot of weird looks when I take a pass on the tylenol for a headache or midol for my cramps. (Fun fact: my roommate literally just ran to the bathroom for an ibuprofen while I was typing this)

Leave a Reply