The amazing Nocebo Effect

The Nocebo is what happens when we receive scary news which results in physical symptoms.  The Nocebo is the opposite of the Placebo.

With the Placebo, which means ‘I will heal’, we get well because we believe something is good for us – the kindly doctor or therapist who listens and reassures has this effect. And the colour of pills is proven to affect the patient’s belief in their efficacy.

Nocebo, on the other hand, means ‘I will harm’.

The Nocebo is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy that occurs, for example, when a doctor tells the patient that they have a serious or incurable disease.

It’s common among medical students where it’s termed ‘Medical students disease’ and in which the student nurses or doctors get symptoms of the very illness they are currently studying.  In its extreme form such as ‘voodo death’ or bone-pointing the person dies because they believe they are cursed.

In its more everyday form, and with more immediate relevance to today’s world, our health and immune system can be compromised when we expose ourselves to news of bad health or illness – such as the current virus pandemic.

And this is even more so unhealthy when the health news contains detailed descriptions of the symptoms of the illness…

(This is from the May 2020 edition of the Pegasus NLP Newsletter.)

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