The Effect Of Expectations On Social Anxiety Symptoms: You Won’t Understand Just How Powerful Your Mind Really Is Until You Read This.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the placebo effect. But did you know that the placebo effect has been getting stronger in the last two decades? I mean, ALOT STRONGER with a 20% increase in the effect size (which is a statistical term that represents how powerful or large a difference is). An effect size is a figure which reflects the actual size of change or outcome in a research study.
Don’t get bored and skip this, because it’s important to understand the magnitude of what your mind is capable of. When it was discovered that the medication Inderal helps with heart attacks by lowering blood pressure, it quickly became hailed as a life-saver and it has been one of the most used drugs of all time. Inderal has an effect size of about 0.04 for preventing heart attacks. If a medication like Inderal has an effect size of .04 in the prevention of heart attacks, that means that if 100 people take it, four lives will be saved. That’s a big deal. But consider that the effect size of the placebo response is much larger than that for many conditions like chronic pain, depression, social anxiety, and a thousand other things. You can’t really nail down an exact number for the effect size of a placebo pill, because it changes depending on what the placebo is believed to be. What can be said is that, overall, the effect size of the placebo pill has just increase by 20%. But why is it that the placebo effect has been getting stronger?
First of all, let me explain how we even know that the placebo effect is getting stronger in the first place. Drug companies create new medications for things like Social Anxiety Disorder. They have to prove that the drug actually does something, so they compare it to the effect of a placebo pill (a pill with no active properties that is designed to look just like the real pill). The reason they split the research subjects between real pill and placebo pill instead of real pill and no pill is because the expectations of our mind are so powerful. So if a person thinks that a pill is going to help with their social anxiety symptoms, it will.
The recent finding that the placebo effect is getting stronger might be
related to the amount of advertizing drug companies have been doing
lately. It’s ironic, but their attempts to convince people about how
powerful their medications are have led the general public to assume
that pills can solve just about anything. As a result, their
expectations for what’s going to happen next also increases when they
take a placebo pill as a research subject. The end result is that the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not been passing many medications
through as “proven effective” because the new drugs being developed just
haven’t been able to beat the placebo pill! Despite historic levels of
in research and development, the US Food and Drug Administration approved only 19 first-of-
their-kind remedies in 2007 (the fewest since 1983) and just 24 in 2008. Half of all drugs that failed in late-stage trials dropped out of the pipeline due to their inability to beat sugar pills! Not only new drugs are affected. Even the research that reviews drugs that have been around for awhile shows that the placebo effect is catching up or passing the real drugs. Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One of these research studies estimated that the effect size in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time. That means that people know more about anti-depressant drugs that are often prescribed for social anxiety symptoms, and they expect the drug to do more, leading to a powerful sugar pill (when they believe the drug is an anti-depressant/social anxiety medication like Prozac).
So how is this helpful to you? It shows you that what you expect to happen next will affect you in ways that you are not even consciously aware of. Your mind and body act and react as one, with expectations creating many of your experiences and perceptions. This is most powerfully true when it comes to symptoms that are experienced on the conscious level like anxiety and depression are. What you do with this knowledge will have a profound impact on the course of your life from this point forward. Let me teach you how to build the momentum of expectation. Download your copy of Social Anxiety Secrets and you will instantly begin be guided down a path toward greater control of your mind and its expectations and focus. Get help with your social anxiety symptoms here.
Dr. Todd Snyder