My journey into vaping

Day 126: I was a psychology student once; say no to nocebo.

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Once upon a time the placebo (Latin, “I will please”) effect was established as factual in basis. The effect is so enshrined in scientific fact that it is taken into consideration during (relevant) scientific studies. When it was first established, the effect was used to describe both positive and negative reactions . However the negative reaction effect seems to have been largely ignored. Negative placebo, which is now referred to as “nocebo”, is a very interesting concept.

From the Skeptic’s [sic] Dictionary:

A nocebo (Latin for “I will harm”) is something that should be ineffective but which causes symptoms of ill health. A nocebo effect is an ill effect caused by the suggestion or belief that something is harmful. [] Because of ethical concerns, nocebos are not commonly used in medical practice or research. Thus, it is not unexpected that the nocebo effect is not well-established in the scientific literature. However, there are some anecdotes and some studies that are commonly appealed to in the literature to support its validity.

Lets do a little thought experiment. Let’s imagine a single twenty-something female pack-a-day smoker, drinks 1-2 units of alcohol per night, tending to choose white because “it’s got less calories in it.” She commutes to an office job by foot and train. She’s slightly overweight and she worries about her health. How many negative health stories does this fictional woman see and hear in one day? How many times does she see that garish health warning on her pack of cigarettes? How often does she get told that the food she was eating would make her fat, even if she opted for healthier choices? How many times does she hear that [BLANK] is the new tobacco? How many times a day does she subconsciously tell herself “this will make me fat” with each mouthful of food?

How much harm is the nocebo effect of all of the white noise of misinformation doing to all of us?


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Author: Beki

A Mad middle aged woman who lives in the middle of nowhere, Scotland with a parrot, two Jack Russells, some koi, and a tank full of tropical fish. I have M.E. but that's really not important. I draw, paint, write, game, garden, blog and enjoy a good vape. I have three lovely grown up offspring, and 2 ex-husbands. I do genuinely have the legal title of 'Lady Rebecca Jane [SURNAME]', and am proud to support the restoration project which bestowed that title on me. I will happily explain where to find more information on this if you contact me.

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