Abstract and Keywords
Studies on placebo analgesic effects have shown that they can mimic the neurophysiological effects of active medication and can result in subjective pain relief. Classical conditioning and expectancy have been implicated as mechanisms mediating the placebo response. Given that the effects of placebo, psychological treatments, and active medications appear to be mediated by overlapping neurophysiological systems, intricate interactions of pharmacological and psychosocial factors must be assumed to converge at the neurobiological level. Study of the placebo response offers a paradigm and opportunity to study the effect of the psychosocial context per se, placebo treatment, psychotherapy, and active medication effects, thus offering exciting possibilities for improving the healthcare of patients and their ability to obtain the best possible health outcomes.
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