"Oh, I was having trouble sleeping, but then I started taking a sleeping pill every night before bed, and it's been great."
"What are you taking?"
"That's not a sleeping pill."
"It's for pain, fever, that kind of thing."
"Seems to put me to sleep."
"Well, if it's working for you..."
Presenting: The Placebo Effect.
It's hard to always wrap my head around it, but, more and more, I'm becoming convinced that it's really just as much about what patients think and expect and want to believe than what any particular medication is actually doing, especially for things like sleep, pain, and anxiety. They want to be heard, they want to be doing something they can believe is productive... and sometimes that's enough. The people who come in talking about herbs or teas or homeopathic remedies. The people who come in talking about how they take a quarter of the dose every day and it's enough. The people who suddenly get better once they have a label to put on whatever is bothering them. It's real. I think.