Communication and health: How nocebo effects influence our well-being

Communication plays an important role in people’s health and well-being. It is known that positive words and encouragement can promote recovery and increase well-being. However, the opposite can also be the case. Nocebo effects can affect our well-being and even negatively influence our health. In this article we will take a closer look at the nocebo effect and its impact on our health.

What is the nocebo effect?

The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect, which is known as the positive effect of suggested treatments. In contrast, the suggestion of negative effects, such as side effects of medication or negative effects of surgery, can lead to unwanted and real symptoms. It is about the expectations of people who experience negative effects due to suggestions.

The nocebo effect can occur in anyone, regardless of age, gender or health status. For example, simply mentioning possible side effects of medicines to a patient can lead to their occurrence, even if these side effects are statistically very rare.

How does the nocebo effect affect our health?

The nocebo effect can have various effects on health. It can lead to an increase in pain and symptoms, which can lead to a poorer quality of life and longer courses of illness. Studies have shown that the nocebo effect can even make people feel sick even though they are not. This can lead to excessive visits to the doctor and excessive use of medication.

The nocebo effect can also affect the relationship between patients and medical staff. If patients feel that their complaints are not taken seriously or that they are considered hypochondriacal, this can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

How to avoid nocebo effects?

There are several ways to avoid nocebo effects. One of the most important things is to improve the way doctors, nurses and other health professionals communicate with patients. Doctors should avoid mentioning possible side effects of medicines and treatments in an alarmist way. Instead, they should describe them as possible but rare events. Patients should also stop self-diagnosing and should instead trust and seek treatment from their healthcare professionals. It is also important that patients have open and honest conversations with their healthcare professionals to discuss their expectations and concerns.

Another important factor in avoiding nocebo effects is the strengthening of self-awareness and self-healing powers. A positive approach that focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself can help patients become more positive and optimistic about their treatment. Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture can also help to strengthen self-awareness and self-healing powers.


Communication plays an important role in people’s health and well-being. The nocebo effect can have a negative impact on health by increasing symptoms of illness and affecting self-esteem and the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals. However, the nocebo effect can be avoided through open and honest communication as well as a positive attitude and strengthening of the self-healing powers. Join our courses in the community and learn more.

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