The “Tomato Effect” in Treating Depression

January 29, 2014

The Tomato Effect in Treating Depression

The “tomato effect” is something that happens when you attempt to treat a condition, and your mind has already reserved a view or opinion on just how successful that treatment is going to be. It’s an assessment based on the way an individual believes the treatment is going to affect him or her, and this supposed mental awareness can have an impact on the success or failure of treatment.

The “tomato effect” is often associated with a joke commonly seen on doctor-oriented TV sitcoms. The patient claims to have some type of illness, the doctor prescribes them “medication” (aka, sugar pills), and magically, they are cured. The idea of convincing a person that a particular treatment is going to be effective and can work is often half the battle; belief has a lot of power over the effect of a particular treatment. People’s minds are complex, and the association of an idea, a strong will, and the pre-conceived notion toward how a treatment is going to work has a lot more power than some might think.


Medicinal Approach Versus Nutritional Balance


There is a lot of talk surrounding the treatment of depression with medicinal approaches versus adjustments made with regards to basic nutrition. The medicinal treatment comes with the risk of certain side effects, which in some cases, can’t be reversed. The change in nutritional intake, however, is something that can be adjusted without the risk of long-term change in various bodily functions. For individuals that are hesitant toward trying a medicinal approach, research has shown that the proper increase in certain B-Vitamins, which have a lot to do with energy and focus, can lead to increased cognitive behavior and more energy and productivity. The avoidance of unhealthy substances, such as trans fats, also leads to a positive outcome, both in physical development and mental processing.

One problem with the medicinal approach is previously held opinions about the success or failure of a certain medication. If the patient believes that medicine is a bad idea, then the likelihood of recognizing any kind of positive change could be compromised, whether the changes are happening or not. People may fear side effects, or simply not trust in the success of a particular medication. When treating depression, if the mind doesn’t want to believe it’s being helped, then the treatment may be less successful.  The alternative treatment of making nutritional changes is sometimes the more acceptable approach for certain people, and there really is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; as long as the individual believes that it can work for them, then it is a step in the right direction.


Belief has more Power than Treatment


Some treatments used to manage a mental condition are going to be viewed as a possibility for success or as a negative option.  This is before the patient even begins using it on a regular basis. It is human nature to develop opinions and to view something as a good or bad idea; these views and the ability to keep an open mind can have an impact on just how successful treatment is going to be. Human beings and their mental psyche are incredibly complex; by grasping an understanding of exactly what the mind can do, it has a great influence toward how effective treatment can be. It is important to factor in the opinions of a person toward any treatment solution; the ignorance toward something that crucial can be the very platform that defines a successful treatment attempt, or a waste of time all together.

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