Pessimism 'Stops Drugs Working' ?- Pessimism May Stop Painkillers From Working

Pessimism 'Stops Drugs Working' ?- Pessimism May Stop Painkillers From Working

Pessimism Your outlook towards life might influence the effectiveness of pain medications. In a recent study, researchers in UK and Germany have found that pessimism reduces the effectiveness of pain relief drugs, whereas optimism could enhance the effectiveness of these medications.

Until now, few studies have been done to reveal the association between brain mechanism and effectiveness of medications. In a laboratory study, researchers inflicted pain to volunteers using a heat source and studied the changes in the different regions of the brain through MRI to determine the effectiveness of the medications.

The findings, published in the latest issue of Science Translational Medicine, showed that positive expectations regarding the workability of the pain relief medication nearly doubled the effectiveness of the drug, whereas a negative feeling reduced the effectiveness of the drug.

The authors of the study have concluded that doctors should not overlook the role of the patient’s expectations on the outcome of a treatment. The information provided by the doctor to the patient would influence the effectiveness of the therapy. By instilling positive thinking by convincing the effectiveness of the treatment, a physician could enhance the healing power of a therapy. Patients are advised to visit their physicians with an open mind.

According to health experts, expectations are shaped by different factors including media reports, experience of other patients and even the price of a drug. Patients often believe that expensive drugs are more effective than cheaper drugs even when both the medications contain the same pharmacological content.

Researchers found that pessimism increased activities in several regions of the brain including the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex and mid-cingulate cortex. These areas of the brain control mood and anxiety.

When positive feelings led to expectations that the pain would diminish, activities in the anterior cingulate cortex and striatum increased. The anterior cingulate cortex is associated with rational behavior and anticipation of reward, while the striatum controls balance and movement.

Health experts believe that positive expectations might explain the effectiveness of placebo treatment.

By revealing the relation between attitude and effectiveness of medications, the study has helped to open a new research avenue that would combine diseases and medications with the personality of an individual.

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