Nocebos often cause a physical effect, but it's not a physically produced effect. What's the cause? In many cases, it's an unanswered question.
I do a lot of research on the placebo effect, not just in depression but in irritable bowel syndrome, pain, arthritis of the knee, migraine, asthma.
Psychotherapy works, and some types of therapy have been shown to be much more effective than antidepressants over the long run.
There seem to be many causes of depression. One cause is profound loss, grief. Economic hardship we know is linked to depression. We don't have a full picture.
There are a variety of techniques to help people change the kind of thinking that leads them to become depressed. These techniques are called cognitive behavioral therapy.
Anything that instills a sense of hope will at least temporarily help treat depression.
The big bulk of the response to antidepressants is the placebo response.
The doctor-patient relationship is critical to the placebo effect.
The one thing we do know is that the chemical imbalance theory - the theory that people get depressed when they don't have enough serotonin in their brain - we know that that's wrong.
Depression comes back over time in about 90 percent of people on antidepressants. Studies show that relapses are far less common when people are treated with psychotherapy.
Antidepressants can have troubling side effects and are addictive for some people.
If doctors just spent more time with their patients so they felt more reassured, that might help.
There seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients.
One problem I have with drug companies is that they don't make all their data public.
Patients who trust their doctors and have a psychological expectation of getting better could trigger a reaction in their body.
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