Disabling depression almost always requires an antidepressant, mild usually does not (watchful waiting or psychotherapy are better first choices). The decision to start an antidepressant is a serious one that should not be made lightly after a brief evaluation with a primary care doctor.
Placebo effect is exploding in the U.S. -- but nowhere else.
There is every reason to believe that surgery is especially prone to placebo effects. The more dramatic the procedure, the more likely it raises hope of cure. "Quick, operate before the patient gets better" is one of those jokes that orthopedic surgeons tell among themselves, barely covering a hard truth: that a lot of elective surgery might be unnecessary or even harmful.
We overtrain our doctors on the overvalued technical aspects of medicine and under-train them in the undervalued relational skills that have always been at the heart of healing.
Hippocrates said: "it is more important to know the patient who has the disease than the disease the patient has." This remains true after 2,500 years and with all the hype of modern medicine.
In his classic 1952 paper, Hans Eysenck did not attempt to explain why therapists' beliefs are so resistant to proof -- it was beyond the scope of his analysis. But now a group of psychological scientists are attempting to do just that.