I think that culture plays a role in respect to the knowledge of a condition. Someone may live his or her whole life with an illness, but learn to cope because they did not know there was any other option. If knowledge of the condition was out there, the person could have another option, usually that other option is some type of drug. This can be life changing for someone who has fought the condition and has had a decreased enjoyment of life because of it. Medicine can make a person’s experience of the drug significantly better. The article on postpartum depression in males could be an example of this. The author talks how he fought with his condition for as long as he could before he finally looked for help. He found he was not alone, and that help was available.
I believe there is a connection between belief of an issue and having an issue. So the problem that I see with open knowledge of conditions, is that I think it enables people to self diagnose and think they have a condition more than they might if they had never heard of the condition before. For example a father who knows about male postpartum depression could find treatment as soon as he started seeing symptoms, however one has to wonder if sometimes a hypochondriac situation hasn’t occurred. That being said, I think the management and treatment for these cases has to be done carefully. Because they are subjective illnesses, it can be very hard to tell who is actually experiencing these illnesses, so I think it is important to encourage people to try to cope with their condition first, before medicating them. That is not to say that I do not believe these types of illnesses exist. I believe that there obviously must have been some type of problem or the conditions would not have become such well known problems.
I also believe that there is a connection between belief and healing. I really enjoyed the placebo film, it hit on some very interesting topics that could be a bit controversial; however I think it is important to continue research in this field. My immediate reaction to some of the examples (like the woman who was told after years of thinking the real drug was what cured her, that she had actually received a placebo) was how embarrassed I would be. We should not be embarrassed though, it is human nature in our culture to believe that pills make us feel better, and surgeries will fix things. The idea that that thought alone actually can cure is remarkable. I do not think that it is something we should be afraid of, I think it is something we should embrace.
The placebo film reminded me of some of the information from last week on Shaman. Especially the film we watched last week about the boy with autism who was cured of some of his symptoms after a trip to Mongolia. I would like to believe that maybe the work of the Shaman is related to the placebo effect, only those who truly believe they will be helped can be helped. I think this idea also relates to the person giving the treatment. If the Shaman did not believe in his or her work, I doubt that it would work. Just like the man from the placebo film who was unable to cure again after he believed that the disease was incurable.