Erowid References Database
Park LC, Covi L.
“Nonblind Placebo Trial: An Exploration of Neurotic Patients' Responses to Placebo When Its Inert Content Is Disclosed”.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965 Apr 01;12:36-45.
THE PLACEBO effect, that is, the effect obtained when a presumably inert substance is given to normal or diseased individuals, has been the object of many studies in the last decade.
We were unable to find mention in the literature of any experiment testing the assumption that a prerequisite for the placebo effect in a neurotic patient is unawareness of the real nature of the substance received. We therefore designed and carried out the study reported here, with the hypothesis that patients can be willing to take placebo and can improve despite disclosure of the inert content of the pills.
The study was conducted with adult neurotic outpatients who were clearly not alcoholic or suffering from neurological disorder and who presented signs of anxiety. The number of subjects was limited due to the exploratory nature of this unusual and "paradoxical" experiment in which neurotic outpatients asking for help were requested to take capsules containing no medication.
Fifteen anxious, neurotic outpatients were placed on placebo treatment for one week after being informed the pills contained inert material. Fourteen patients took the pills and returned for the subsequent appointment, with all 14 reporting improvement; there was also overall marked improvement by doctor and patient ratings on several measures.
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