How Your Beliefs and Perceptions Influence Your Depression Treatment
In the past, there have been different schools of thought regarding what causes depression. Is it purely chemical imbalance, genetics, perception about life, or environmental factors? But as many studies have proven, it is usually a mix of all these.
For instance, if two people are exposed to the same environmental factors (negative experiences, low socio-economic background, etc.), only one may get depressed if they have a higher genetic risk of depression.
Ok, you probably already know all of that as regards the cause of depression. But did you know that a depressed patient's perceptions can also affect their treatment outcome?
Two depression patients may be on the same treatment, but one responds more positively to the treatment because of their beliefs. This is the hypothesis and the reason why study participants who are given fake (placebo) treatments are kept in the dark about the reality of their treatment. Researchers do not want the participants' subjective beliefs to influence their treatment outcomes, and therefore the objective reliability of the study.
To clarify to what extent this hypothesis holds true in real life, researchers from the University of Surrey analyzed five independent studies.
Each study included both patients with clinical depression and ADHD, as well as healthy adults.
In four out of five studies, the patients’ beliefs about whether they were receiving real or fake treatments influenced their treatment outcomes. That is, even when the same treatment was administered, those who were told the treatment was fake experienced little or no response to the treatment. And some who were told the treatment was effective, even when it was fake, responded well to the treatment.
In fact, in one of the studies, the result showed that the patient's positive perceptions about the treatment mattered even more than the treatment's efficacy.
In another one of the studies, patients' perceptions influenced treatment outcomes just as much as the treatment's efficacy. While in one study, their beliefs didn't have any significant effect.
But overall, one thing is clear. Just as someone's perceptions about life can pull them into depression, their positive belief in their treatment may help them get well faster.
And that's why you must have hope. Hope that the treatment you're receiving is just what you need. Hope that you can get better. Hope that you can be happy once again.
And we at Hope Mental Health are inviting you. We want to see you get the help you need.
Give us a call today.