Placebos: How docs are using
fake medicine to shut you up
“Shut up, take this pill, and DON’T call me in the morning.”
With half of all American doctors prescribing placebos instead of an actual drug to their patients there’s a really good chance it does. And apparently, according to a study published in the medical journal BMJ docs aren’t at all shy about admitting it since they readily confessed the fact to researchers conducting a survey on the subject.
American docs aren’t alone in their placebo prescribing habits either: Similar surveys in other countries like the UK, Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand found that the practice seems to be global.
In other words: Doctors tell you they’re giving you one thing, and then they prescribe you another. And they’re not just prescribing harmless sugar pills——they’re doling out headache medicines (aspirin), vitamin pills, and very often antibiotics and sedatives. Imagine being given a sedative without knowing it! Does something seem wrong with this picture?
Franklin G. Miller, one of the authors of the study and the director of a research ethics programs at the National Institutes of Health, said the study should give doctors “pause” about whether they are engaging in “deception” with their patients. I say...
Forget pausing——it should be a brakes squealing,
full stop, red-flag waving offense
Once the trust between doctor and patient is compromised, forget it. It’s not just that the patient won’t believe his doc when it comes to drugs——he won’t believe him when it comes to anything. Good luck coaxing a patient into lifestyle changes when he thinks you’re a fraud.
The problem is, the solution being proposed by medical ethicists is almost as bad as the problem itself. Instead of suggesting that doctors stop prescribing placebos altogether, these nut jobs want doctors to actually tell their patients what they’re doing!
The very essence of a placebo is that the patient believes it to be an actual drug, and then the power of suggestion and positive thinking do the rest. What patient would take a placebo, knowing that it’s a placebo?
Doctors argue that many “conditions” such as fibromyalgia are merely psychosomatic. So the question is, is it better to pass out doses of colored aspirin rather than pumping their patients full of useless drugs with more serious side effects?
One doctor said that sometimes doctors use placebos as a fallback in situations where patients insist something is wrong, and yet the doctor can’t find the source of the ailment. They’re using placebos to treat what Miller calls “difficult patients.”
That’s right——they think you're “difficult”
so here’s a phony pill to shut you up
There are a lot of folks who will tell you that the placebo issue isn’t black and white. The heck it isn’t. Anyone who could be cured by a placebo——as in, they’re not sick in the first place——deserves some straight talk. But such lengthy appointments could make doctors late for their afternoon golf games.
So how do we solve this problem? Simple. The first solution is for doctors to stop prescribing placebos in the first place.
Second, your doctor should take the time to learn what’s at the root of your problem, instead of simply throwing pills at you——placebo or otherwise.
That’s why, if you’re not already, you should see one of the doctors registered with the American College for Advancement in Medicine. You can check them out online at www.acam.org.