The Role of Expectation in the Therapeutic Outcomes of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatments

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Abstract

Throughout history, patient–physician relationships have been acknowledged as an important component of the therapeutic effects of any pharmacological treatment. Here, we discuss the role of physicians' expectations in influencing the therapeutic outcomes of alcohol and drug addiction pharmacological treatments. As largely demonstrated, such expectations and attitudes may contribute to produce placebo and nocebo effects that in turn affect the course of the disease and the response to the therapy. This article is aimed at discussing the current insights into expectations, placebo and nocebo mechanisms and their impact on the therapeutic outcomes of alcohol and drug addiction treatments; with the goal of informing physicians and other health care providers about the potentially widespread implications for clinical practice and for a successful treatment regimen.

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